Laura Capell-Abra’s topical session on mental health and wellness in the workplace took place on day one at IBTM World 2021.
As we get back to business, there is a sense of urgency to make up for lost time. A need to bill and build as many events as we can, a need to work harder than we’ve ever worked before and a need to look after our people – now more than ever. With depression doubling in adults over the pandemic and an industry where every person has been impacted by the shutdown of revenue streams, a focus on our people right now is critical.
As founder of Stress Matters, the workplace wellbeing organisation for the events and hospitality industry, Laura shared her insights on how to build back for the team and challenge attendees to consider the people in the industry.
Starting her session, Laura noted that in all the conversations about sustainability, “we forget that sustainable includes social. In order to be fully sustainable, we have to think about people too.” Talking about how to check-in with colleagues, she said “if you don’t want to have an emotional, in-depth conversation and how someone’s doing, or don’t have time, check-in and ask what energy percentage they’re at.”
Reflecting on the impact of the pandemic, Laura noted that “what can happen when we’re in this constant state of change, is that we forget to spend time reflecting on how far we’ve come. 13% of people in the meetings and events industry have had to take time off work in 2021 owing to their mental health. We’ve got to be able to attract people back into the industry, but not into the same industry we had. We’ve got to improve it – if we’re not encouraging our businesses to be more proactive about mental health and wellness now, why not.”
Laura concluded by noting that it’s key to create accountability. It’s important to have mental health or wellbeing on risk assessments for events. If it’s not on the risk assessment, then you’re not going to do anything about it. Laura urged people to think about what the attitude towards mental health and wellness is in their business – would your colleagues feel comfortable talking about it? Closing, Laura noted that “We’re starting to have better conversations with people about how they’re doing. A good thing to come out of the pandemic is the fact our mental health is being talked about more.”