Battling burnout: Building work-life balance for event profs

Jacinda Ardern’s resignation as New Zealand PM put the spotlight on burnout. Here, 3 work-life balance tips from event profs.

Shorter meetings, investing in career pathways and fitting events around lifestyle are some of the ways planners and delegates are restoring work-life balance.
Shorter meetings, investing in career pathways and fitting events around lifestyle are some of the ways planners and delegates are restoring work-life balance. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/Vikky Mir

Workplace burnout is back under the spotlight in the wake of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision to resign, as in her own words, she said ‘I no longer have enough in the tank’.

Event planning is a stressful job at the best of times but with 2023 already shaping up to be a busy year in the APAC region, particularly now that restrictions in China have lifted, how are planners ensuring they are achieving work/life balance rather than burnout?

1. Offer clear career progression and training opportunities

Petrina Goh, regional commercial director, SEA & Hong Kong at CWT Meetings & Events says new talent is entering the workforce, drawn by the opportunity to travel and build experiences for audiences.

“At the same time, our industry has been forced to rethink what makes a rewarding and fulfilling career,” she says.”Recognising the importance of work-life balance and career progression has become crucial to talent attraction and retention.”

ICC Sydney is actively investing in its employees’ career progression, saying it wants to provide career pathways to ‘enrich their careers’ and ‘enhance its team members’ lived experience while working at the venue. Three of the venue’s star candidates have recently progressed through to the second year of the Venue Management Association’s (VMA) School.

Designed for major venue operators in the Asia Pacific region, the rigorous two-year Venue Management School, now in its thirtieth year, was developed to upgrade skills and knowledge and establish lifelong connections – all facilitated through venue industry recognised instructors.

2. Make events work with your lifestyle

Natalie Crampton, founder and managing director of Dubai-based agency TEC says the volume of projects in 2023 has already made its mark – and it’s big – so the challenge for her and her team is to work out how to make this work within their own lifestyles.

“Focus on building a schedule that works for you and your family and which gives you the lifestyle you want and then discuss this with your team to get them on board and support you,” says Crampton. “I’m a single mother with four-year-old twins – at the end of last year, I decided to start taking them on my site inspection trips and it worked out really well – they got insights into what my job is and we always tagged on a day or two to have some family time in the destination.”

3. The rise of ‘quick hit’ meetings

Expect to see shorter meetings take centre stage. A recent survey from venue provider etc. venues suggests that delegates will favour more one-day meetings over longer two to three-day events throughout 2023. Reasons for this vary from wanting to make better use of people’s time, to reducing costs to helping to restore a work-life balance/blend among delegates.

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