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So, January is wellbeing, ship shape, get fit, ‘face the new year with a renewed vigour’, month! And things are no different here at Lime Venue Portfolio; we’re grabbing 2019 with a spring in our step, full of the warm glow of our 10th Birthday last year, and we’re ready to rock!

 

We’re also doing a boot camp for all our lovely customers and clients, so we’re spreading our healthy enthusiasm around. But healthy bodies are nothing without healthy minds, so we’ve been having lunch with Laura Capel-Abra, founder of ‘No More Ifs Or Buts’, a company name which is as decisive as the person who set it up, and underline’s Laura’s own passion and commitment for wellbeing.

 

Laura used to run an events agency before turning into a zen warrior, so she knows a fair bit about wellbeing in the industry. This is a serious subject which takes a serious mind to take it on, so we sat back and listened to one of the event industry’s greats talk us through it …

 

To start with though, we wanted to find our how Laura arrived in the world of wellness? “Like many people who work in wellbeing, I guess I fell into it! I left the event agency world to start a coaching and development company called No More Ifs Or Buts, and as I worked with more and more individuals and teams about their career progression I realised how much impact stress was having on these people.  It was from this side I got into the wider wellness side I think, I saw so much negative impact from stress on event teams that I felt compelled to help and it all escalated from there.”

 

Laura is one of a number of people and organisations that is taking more interest in wellness within the events industry, so why is everyone looking at wellness at the moment? “As an industry, we’re starting to address the subject, but I think we've got far more to do yet. I think there has been a huge shift in society generally and with more conversations in the public arena about wellness and mental health, plus schemes such as Stress Matters and EventWell which are aimed at the events industry, it's become a more acceptable topic for discussion.”

 

“What I'm keen to see though, is it going from lots of people talking, to employers taking it seriously and action being taken. We've seen a positive shift in the last 12 months but it needs to go so much further than that.”

 

So, why are eventprofs more likely to suffer from anxiety than other professionals? “I don't think we are more likely to get stressed because of the jobs we do, but the culture we've created.  The very nature of an event means that we are always working to deadlines and therefore there is less opportunity to make mistakes.”

“However, we have a lot of experience in this industry, and whilst you can't predict everything that's going to happen (that's what makes it fun right!) more experienced people tend to be more confident that they will find a solution to any problems that may arise. Where we are bad, is using a sink or swim approach to training those entering the industry, and that's where the stress manifests.”

 

Laura Capel-Abra, No More Ifs Or Buts

“Equally, there are few other industries that do so little training to ready people in their roles.  I think this is one of the big compounding factors, we know from the Stress Matters research that was conducted in 2017, that 45% of respondents had not had any training and were expected to learn on the job and their stress levels were 33% higher than those that had had some or a large amount of training.”

 

When Laura is not coaching and inspiring, she runs the aforementioned Stress Matters, so where does this business fit in? “Stress Matters was created in 2017 after a piece of research was commissioned to understand the issue of stress and wellbeing in the events industry.  From the research, 10 pledges were developed that would help to reduce the stress that team members may experience. Companies who join the scheme are accredited at a level which reflects the pro-active efforts they are putting into focusing on wellbeing.  What's great is that it is designed for the events industry by people in the events industry so each of the Pledge Managers knows the kind of pressures that companies struggle with.”

 

It sounds like a great initiative, so what are the grand plans for it? “The grand plan is to reduce the negative impacts of stress in people in the events industry and we are monitoring that across our biennial research. We are an industry that takes health and safety extremely seriously but safety has always been the focus.  We would like to see that health side focused on more and companies recognising the hidden costs of stress on their business.

 

But if we can have other positive changes such as changing the mindset and reputation of the industry and giving practical support to busy teams, then all the better.  2019 will be focused on running the research again and getting more companies signed up to the scheme. “

 

It’s a worthy ambition from an impressive professional. As Laura says, the battle has just begun, but with people like her on the right side, we’ll get there all the quicker.

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