There is little doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our collective workloads. Communication and public relations professionals are busy at the best of times and the pandemic has added to this already challenging workload.
In the Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence (CSCE) So how do you really feel? Global wellbeing study (which you can download HERE), two thirds of respondents said their mental wellbeing has declined since the beginning of the pandemic.
Key findings included;
- 48 per cent of people employed in comms and PR have considered leaving the profession for the sake of their mental wellbeing.
- Two thirds of communication and public relations professionals said their mental wellbeing has declined since the start of the pandemic.
- Less than half of respondents feel optimistic about their mental wellbeing in 2022.
- Organisations need to listen more closely to what their employees want and need when it comes to mental wellbeing support.
- 73 per cent of communication and public relations professionals believe their organisation should do more to support mental wellbeing.
- Employee Assistance Programs aren’t what they need with only 11 per cent of respondents wanting this type of support.
- They want greater flexibility and resources to boost their mental wellbeing in the form of additional leave, wellbeing initiatives such as massages and meditation classes and mental wellbeing check-ins.
- One in 10 organisations are seen to offer no mental wellbeing support to their employees.
The survey was completed by almost 800 communication and public relations professionals from 40 different countries.
Sia Papageorgiou FRSA, SCMP, managing director at the CSCE explained the survey aimed to provide insight into how communication and public relations professionals are feeling about their mental wellbeing – to identify the barriers to improving it and gain insights that employers, leaders, and our profession’s associations can use to help ease the pressure.
Papageorgiou said: “What struck me most is that less than half of respondents are optimistic about their mental wellbeing in 2022. Almost three-quarters of respondents indicated their organisation needs to do more to support mental wellbeing in the workplace. This is cause for considerable concern and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”
“Our mental wellbeing report, which includes the results of our survey and seven case studies developed through interviews with communication leaders around the world, highlights the fact that supporting the mental wellbeing of communication and public relations professionals is not just a “nice-to-have.”
“In this global race for talent, it has become a business imperative and a strategic advantage as evidenced through the best in-class organisations we spoke with. These organisations are listening, actively responding and creating a psychologically safe work environment.”
The survey also highlighted that 20 per cent of communication and public relations professionals don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about their mental wellbeing.
Danielle Bond, chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) International Executive Board, sponsor of the wellbeing study, said the mental health and wellbeing of those within our profession is extremely important to the IABC.
“We want to play our part in advocating, supporting, and enabling organisations, associations and individuals through work-life challenges.”
“Communication and public relation professionals must have the capacity and resilience to lead through change. These results highlight an incredible opportunity for professionals, with the support of their associations, to collectively influence what comes next.”
Study research partner and Antenna Director, Brett Gumbley support Bond’s view expressing that communication and PR professionals have navigated crisis after crisis, with no end in sight.
“This is an unsustainable situation for individuals, organisations, and the profession – things need to change. But to initiate change, we must fully understand what’s going on both from a micro and a macro point of view. It’s only then that we can work out what’s needed to help improve the situation.”
The partnership between CSCE and Antenna is a collaborative industry effort, with sponsorship from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Foundation and the support of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS), energi PR, as well as IABC chapters and regions around the world. CSCE partner and mental wellbeing consultant and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainer, Julie Gillespie also contributed to the study.
Papageorgiou, hopes these insights help communication and public relation professionals around the world to have better conversations with their leaders, peers, colleagues, and clients.
“Let’s use them collectively to create the type of environment where communication professionals feel respected, accepted, and comfortable to be themselves. Essentially, workplaces where we thrive, flourish, and do our best work. Because we really are stronger together.”
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