2018 marks the second year of #EventWell, the event industry-wide initiative that encourages us to remember that no matter how consuming our jobs can be, we must take time to recharge. After all, if we aren’t our best selves, we can’t produce our best work.
Here at Unicorn, the wellbeing of staff, clients, and event guests is always at the forefront of our minds, no matter how big or small the project. So we thought we would share some of the main areas where we take wellbeing into consideration, from office to event pitch, and most importantly, the easy changes that can make a big difference.
Creating and executing the projects we do means the devil is always in the detail, and the thought of unfinished business means we may be tempted to do one last check in, or send that final email during our our time off.
Even when we don’t actively participate, keeping an eye on emails or client group chats means that we never fully shut off and give ourselves time to rest and recharge. We work to create experiences for others to enjoy - sometimes as a form of escapism from real life, but do we allow ourselves to experience the same?
It is important, no matter how big your team is, to ensure that everyone knows that ‘out of office’ means just that. Push your team to encourage each other to implement this too. Remind each other to stay off work phones during their leave, or to delete the Slack app for the week they are on holiday. This will create immense trust among the team, improving a sense of community as everyone pitches in to help with whatever tasks are outstanding, but also reminding them that overall wellbeing takes priority.
Not everyone has the luxury of an office that has been specifically designed with their team in mind. Often, especially with small/medium companies, you have to work with the space you have.
We moved offices this year, and using inspiration from other office layouts we have worked in, have created the following for the benefit of our team where possible:
team space: when it’s time for an all-company meeting or update, it’s great to have a space away from computers and desks where the group can take a break from their projects and digest what is going on.
individual work areas: though we work in an industry which is super collaborative, it is so important to keep in mind that some people do not always function best in a group setting. To produce their best ideas and work they need to be in their own space, shut off from distractions for a while. If you don’t have a large space, or old-school dividers between desks, items such as desktop screens and plants can help employees to carve out their own space.
breakout areas: a breakout area designed for people to branch off and plan, moodboard, or debrief on their latest event is crucial. If you are in a shared workplace, they often have these spaces available that you can and should encourage your team to make use of. If you can design your own office, making sure that a collaborative area is available (maybe in a softer design than the main space) is a must. We find that our team do some of their best work out of the office and in their own groups.
It is important to take the layout of your event into consideration too, particularly when planning conferences or similar. Furniture, breakout areas, lighting, spaces to take a conference call or join a Google hangout. No matter how long your event, half a day or week long, taking in content or participating in experiential can be draining. The list of touch points that can enhance delegate and staff wellbeing is never ending.
One thing that is at the top of our list when looking for potential conference spaces is whether or not there is outdoor space that we can utilise as part of the event (and not just as a smoking area). If there is no outdoor space available, why not work to create a green area in the space somewhere. We find that guests appreciate having a physically different space that they can use throughout the day, especially one related to nature as it evokes feelings of calm and encourage people to mentally ‘take a break’.
What’s in a Name?
We all know that job titles are only really useful within an organisation to create structure and denote who takes responsibility for what. Outside of our office, our own job title can mean a million different things.
Staff are at their happiest when they are working on things that they love. At Unicorn, not only do our staff work on the projects within their remit, but they are encouraged to bring ideas to the table that can help other events - or to share ideas that can help the business in general. This challenges the idea that your creativity and skills are restricted to the role you have been hired for - and instead creates an office culture that ensures everyone is listened to.
An anything-is-possible mentality allows for employees to feel comfortable in their workplace, and not to feel as though they are overlooked or undervalued.
These topics may not immediately spring to mind when the topic of wellbeing in the event industry comes up, but for us, starting with the basics and creating a better office culture and event environment means that better catering choices, spaces for mindfulness, and wellness focused activities will follow naturally.
What are your tips for wellbeing within the events industry? Join the discussion and share them on Twitter @UnicornEventLtd, with #EventWell