Why Christmas is the most stressful time of year for event planners
Ho, ho, no? Christmas is often the most stressful time of year for event planners. EEF Venues managing director David Vaughton reminds us to look after our mental health.
Around this time every year, a survey emerges, highlighting the most stressful jobs.
The annual CareerCast Job Stress report is based on an evaluation of 11 stress factors, including hazards, deadlines, physical demands and life at risk.
Unsurprisingly, those jobs that fill the first four positions are usually military, firefighter, airline pilot and police officer. Maybe more surprising, however, is that last year, events coordinator was ranked as the fifth most stressful job.
In the lead-up to Christmas, the eight stress factors, which event professionals score highly on are amplified. Deadlines increase, the physical demands are greater, travel time cuts into the working day more, schedules become disrupted, there’s a heightened risk of problems or client demands, the pressure to succeed increases, and thoughts often turn to career goals for the forthcoming new year.
That’s a lot of stress to place on anyone, let alone event planners who are most likely also thinking about when they’ll find the time to Christmas shop, organise spending time with family and friends, plus how the hell they’ll get through the festive season without going broke.
While common sense tells us, we need to be looking after ourselves, it’s not so easy to put your own sanity first when festive late nights and heightened client demands are every-day norms for this time of year.
When last year’s CareerCast report was published, Stress Matters - an online pledge to reduce stress in the events industry, asked events professionals what their employer currently does to reduce stress. The majority answer was, ‘nothing’.
Additionally, EventWell research found that 15% of events professionals did not feel able to ask for help in dealing with stress - even though they wanted to. A further 38% did not even want to ask for help.
This of course isn’t good enough. At EEF Venues we place huge importance on supportive leadership and company wellbeing programmes to reduce stress all year round.
In the lead up to a busy Christmas period, we help staff with time management and make sure they’re building in time to relax and enjoy the festive celebrations we’re working so hard to host.
Our venues are decorated for Christmas gradually, over a short period of a time, in order to remove the pressure of getting everything done and dressed in one hit.
While staff are invited to sample Christmas menus and enter into the true spirit of the holiday season so that everyone’s working day is injected with a healthy dose of festive cheer.
Earlier this month, World Mental Health Day was marked across social media and we tweeted 10 practical ways to look after your mental health, as recommended by the Mental Health Foundation.
With job stress such a major contributor to poor mental health and with the autumn evenings soon becoming darker earlier, we need to remind ourselves that we all deserve some self-care.
That way, we can approach the stresses of Christmas event planning with renewed vigour and confidence, safe in the knowledge that we’re surrounded by an industry network of people ready to listen and offer support should it be required.