Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, many industries have experienced a lull, and workers have had to deal with the consequences. The pandemic caused several workers across the US and the rest of the world to lose their jobs. Many who retained theirs had to adjust to working solely online. The loneliness led to decreased levels of motivation. For many workers, job security was not guaranteed, leading to increased stress levels for workers who did have a job.
The events industry, which thrives on social gatherings, was not spared in this attack on society as we know it. Event planning is already known to be stressful, as surveys have shown that it's one of the top five most stressful jobs. But with the pandemic, the situation worsened even more. Thousands of event planners across the world were affected in multiple ways.
It's crucial to understand just how this happened and what can be done to help event planning staff worldwide. So, in this article, we'll look at how the pandemic affected the people behind the event industry. We'll also look at critical ways that people in charge can take action to promote a healthier, more empathic industry.
Here are the ways the pandemic contributed to increased levels of stress in the event industry:
In the US alone, the event industry was worth several billion annually. And it continued growing, with a projected job growth rate of about 11%. So, before the start of the pandemic, several events were scheduled to be held physically, with event centers booked well in advance.
When the pandemic came, thousands of these events had to be canceled due to restrictions on physical gatherings. This led to several losses in investments, but, most importantly, increased stress levels.
Organizations rescheduled most events, and new plans had to be hurriedly devised and implemented. As Vicki Johnson, a veteran event planner, put it, "The disruptions and changes planners have had to adjust to, with no sense of when or if things will return to where they were, leaves those of us [in the industry] with a total inability to control anything." The uncertainty, reschedulings, and impromptu nature of the pandemic made things more challenging for planners. No one could predict what could happen next and negotiations with sponsors stalled. Businesses were unsure of the short and long-term future.
As the pandemic continued, it was clear that event planners would have to transition to online media. Many event planners had been using online media for various aspects of their events before, such as registration and publicity. However, porting the entire event online was an entirely new idea, which many event planners had never tried before.
In the end, event planners faced many problems, from technical issues to choosing the right virtual event platform. The event industry had transformed overnight, and no one was sure how to approach it.
As with most other 'nonessential' industries, the event industry took a hit during the pandemic. Event organizers could not host large in-person events during the pandemic due to government regulations. This dropped incomes in the industry significantly. In fact, as MarketWatch estimated, the event industry lost $12 billion in 2020, with about $18 billion more lost in related activities.
Companies reacted to this market shrink, and several workers had to lose their jobs. There was even less job security for those who remained with a job, causing increased stress levels.
Due to the social distancing policies resulting from the pandemic, movement decreased. This meant that workers in the event industry saw each other less. Statista reported that about 68% of event marketers replaced in-person events with webinars during the pandemic. With most events happening online, coworkers had less incentive to meet, leading to decreased productivity and increased stress.
Here are a few ways that you can help mitigate the mental health crisis as a stakeholder or decision-maker:
Staff well-being is vital for business well-being. According to research, every dollar spent on staff well-being may result in $5.81 in savings for the company. It's crucial to ensure workers are safe and in optimum health to promote increased productivity.
According to the American Psychological Association, American workers experienced heightened stress levels in 2020 and 2021. As a leader, you can promote self-care in the workplace. Teaching calming techniques, encouraging therapy, and promoting positive affirmations are great ways to do this.
According to research by Dynamic Signal, 80% of American workers feel stressed by ineffective communication. Sitting and taking the time to understand your team members is a great way to iron out issues and arrive at efficient solutions.
In a stressful industry like event planning, social/emotional support is even more crucial at the workplace. Promote a workplace where workers are free to share problems and get the help they need. This way, you'll foster cooperation, and workers will report higher satisfaction levels at the workplace.
Workplace collaboration is critical for business success and career development. Collaboration fosters mutual trust between coworkers, essential for creating a productive and motivated work environment. As a leader, ensure that everyone can contribute to the process and that every opinion is heard. This will boost workers' confidence and job satisfaction.
Although it can be tempting to demand more and more hours from your team, it's probably not the best way to get more productivity. Instead, focus on optimizing processes and fostering collaboration so that team members can produce better-quality work during regular hours. A healthy work-life balance is essential for efficiency.
Workers' mental health has been an often neglected part of the events industry. But with decision-makers taking decisive action and efficient event management, it is possible to reverse the trend of poor mental health in the industry.