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de-stress

A unique way to de-stress

Lorraine Thorne, venue sales manager at Royal Horticultural Halls discusses how reducing stress is key to our wellbeing 

The world of events is known to be stressful, from catering to client demands, working late to often unusual hours and travelling around town for meetings.

This is why we launched ‘De-Stress Fest’ at the Royal Horticultural Halls, which is a member venue of Unique Venues of London.

The annual event focuses on giving back to the events industry and helping MICE (meeting, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) professionals unwind and to better manage their stress at work to become more productive.

We had the opportunity to host a network of people in the events industry, hold talks, provide healthy food and drinks and keep guests engaged with the subject of wellbeing.

The main goal

Wellness has always been an important topic, but it is gradually gaining more awareness in the events industry.

Last minute requests and changes are now the norm, which can put stress on event agencies, coordinators and the venues.

The aim of ‘De-Stress Fest’ is to bring people to our venue and show them how they can become happier in their home and work environments.

At the recent event, we also wanted to show how our space is ideal for wellbeing-related affairs and the ways in which the space can make people feel more at ease during their visit.

We offered relaxing massages and tips on how to deal with pressure at work and daily life.

For next year’s De-Stress Fest, we have ideas such as additional treatments and a service that brings puppies to offices as a method for alleviating stress.

Putting a plan in place

It’s important for people to take time out of their daily routine to just sit back, relax and recharge.

Even something as small as bringing back the lunch hour is integral to de-stressing as so many now eat lunch at their desk and don’t take their eyes off their computer screen.

There are also many ways venue and event managers can improve their understanding of the concept of wellbeing to help their employees.

Firstly, I believe managers need to manage their staff’s work hours and make sure they are not working late and also ensure they have time off.

Secondly, one-to-one meetings with your team are vital. Taking time to speak with your employees ensures that you know what is going on and allows you to lend assistance if necessary.

Reducing stress in the workplace and boosting employee morale is about recognising the signs of a stressed team and helping those who may have particularly heavy workloads.

At the Royal Horticultural Society, the parent organisation of the Royal Horticultural Halls, we have a wellbeing scheme called the ‘Time To Change Campaign’. It’s aimed at improving mental health in the workplace and ending the stigma associated with poor mental health.

We are also invited to various outings with our suppliers, and we ensure that our operations team is involved. Last year, we had a mini away day at ArcelorMittal Orbit, followed by a brainstorming session about our venue and its work.

Well-suited for wellbeing

The Royal Horticultural Halls aims to be an ideal space for wellbeing events because of the architectural features of the venue.

For example, our Lindley Hall has a vaulted glass roof through which natural daylight shines. This is particularly appealing to clients who book conferences and want to avoid the stuffiness of a hotel basement.

Our location off Vincent Square also means there is not too much noise surrounding the venue, giving clients a sense of privacy and some peace and quiet.

Lastly, there is flexibility regarding the layout of the Royal Horticultural Halls. The spaces we provide have no set format. For instance, if people want to arrange special seating, presentation areas or decorate the space with fake grass and plants, this can be done.

Essentially, event organisers have the freedom to make the space their own.

The future of wellness and events

Wellbeing-centred events are growing in popularity. As people become more aware of what they are consuming, catering companies are starting to offer healthier food options, such as fruit, yogurt and oat pots. Even the demand for non-alcoholic beverages is on the rise, as they can be low in sugar.

It is also essential to have multiple of breaks. After sitting and watching a presentation for hours, event attendees need some time to regroup. Engaging in another activity during this time, or simply sitting in a calm area is a great way to relax mid-meeting.

Finally, any funds from hiring our halls returns to Royal Horticultural Society, which is a registered charity.

While the organisation is well known for the Chelsea and Hampton Court Flowers Shows, it is also actively involved in charity projects with schools and the rest of the community.

As the events industry continues to thrive, we can expect to see more funding for wellbeing schemes and greater attention placed on the importance of mental wellness both in and out of the workplace.