Blog: Health and wellness on site

C&IT spoke to Caroline Medcalf, events director at NYS Corporate, on her top tips for coping with stress and staying healthy on-site an an event.

Caroline Medcalf
Caroline Medcalf

This year, event co-ordinators were ranked by CareerCast as having the fifth most stressful occupation in the world, just behind the army, firefighters, police officers and airline pilots. This got me thinking about the stress faced by my team in order to deliver successful events for our clients; as we often have to simultaneously coordinate multiple events, each with a variety of flights, transfers, hotel rooms, conference content, lunches and gala dinners, all of which need to be delivered in accordance with a strict criteria, deadline and budget.  

Throughout this process the client always comes front-and-centre, with the aim being to ensure that every delegate has an enjoyable experience and goes away feeling happy and motivated.  Undoubtedly it is stressful, and you cannot do this job unless you love it – otherwise the pressure and long hours would get to you.

Here are some of my tips for reducing stress

  • Expect to be busy – being under pressure while on site doesn’t have to be stressful, especially if you are mentally prepared for it
  • Come prepared – create a minute-by-minute running order and share this with all relevant parties in advance, to ensure that your team, the venue and the client understand exactly what needs to happen on the day
  • Consider every eventuality – no matter how well organised your event is, things can always crop up last minute, so make sure you have a Plan A, B and C in place just in case
  • Work in partnership – having a good working relationship with the client can make a huge difference, clear and transparent communication is a must
  • Take regular breaks – have a rota for the team which includes a schedule of short breaks (even 10 minutes to refresh and sit quietly can help) and maximise the effectiveness of these mini-breaks by ensuring there is an office/staff-only area they can use to relax away from the  delegates 
  • Sleep – event management often requires long working days, but where possible request quiet bedrooms at the hotel and allow time on the rota for a full night’s rest
  • Stay hydrated – keeping the team well fed and watered is essential, including plenty of fresh fruit and slow release energy foods
  • Allow recovery time – the adrenaline will help everyone get through the event, but the team are likely to crash afterwards, so don’t schedule anything important for the day after an event

Personally, I am a huge advocate of yoga and mindfulness meditation.  I find that attending a yoga class is like hitting a re-set button, it relaxes my mind and eases tension built up over the day. I also have a mindfulness app on my phone, which has some handy 10-minute guided sessions ideal for when I am travelling – I just plug my earphones in and a take moment to re-focus.

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