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Big Brother should be watching out for you

Laura Capell-Abra, founder of Stress Matters, hasn’t gone totally Orwellian, but says demanding clients must never cross the line 

To some it may feel retro, but I still find myself in a Post Office every few weeks and I’ve noticed that each branch has the same sign: ‘Post Office Ltd. will not tolerate any abusive or antisocial behaviour directed towards its employees.’ It’s a direct yet very clear message: we care for our team. 

We see this message everywhere, the NHS, in taxis, on buses, in shops, but it’s not a message that I ever really hear the events industry tell its customers.  

I’ve never experienced physical abuse from a client and I hope that goes for everyone else, but I know that I’ve let clients get away with other forms of controlling behaviour. So much so, that if it was in the home environment, it would verge on domestic abuse.  

In our most recent Stress Matters research, we found that two of the biggest causes of stress for eventprofs are unrealistic deadlines and demanding clients at 59% and 58% respectively. We also know that with the fast pace of many of our events, it seems easier to just do as we are told than to push back and to speak up for the team that get put under more and more pressure.  

The alternative seems to be to risk the client getting agitated and, worst of all, the client not renewing the event. Well what if we can help our teams by pushing back a little bit and standing up for the more junior team members like a big brother.

One of the Stress Matters pledges is that senior management supports individuals who are being subjected to unrealistic deadlines by clients. For every manager out there, please pause just a moment to ask yourself if it’s the client putting the pressure on your team, or if you’re the one that’s enabling it to happen by not standing up for your team’s wellbeing.

This year will be the first year in 20 years that we won’t have the TV show Big Brother infiltrating our lives but let’s spend this summer playing big brother by watching out for our team members and setting ourselves the challenge to win more time and resources.