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Last week was EventWell 18, an initiative devoted entirely to the health and wellbeing of events professionals, and the instigation of a wider industry discussion that EEF Venues is contributing to through its ‘Business of Wellbeing’ campaign. As part of the week, following the success of our first round table session, and to continue the current conversation surrounding wellness, EFF Venues sat down with Entrepreneur - Jason Allan Scott (a participant of the roundtable) to discuss the findings so far, and what he predicts for the future of events and wellness.

Jason Allan Scott, founder of ‘The Calisthetic Games’ and a self-advocate for wellbeing in the events industry, praises the contributions made during the first meeting, emphasizing the importance and relevance of making health and wellness a business priority. He commented; “It was great to be hearing from other like-minded professionals, from different backgrounds, who not only conveyed their experiences and best practices for wellbeing, but more importantly, put forward the questions that they thought would lead them to a better wellness culture in their business.”

We wanted to take the conversation forward, to try and bring more opinions into the discussion around ‘The Business of Wellbeing’ and the need for this to be considered not only as an integral part to business but as something we as event organisers should be actively exercising. “Forbes listed event management as the 5th most stressful job in the world and yet, some businesses still aren’t necessarily seeing the correlation between wellbeing, profitability and business sustainability. There is an acceptance that high stress and anxiety is first and foremost the general nature of the events industry, and that we should just understand this as a normality. This is perhaps a contributing factor that hinders the industry’s move to better wellness. We need to go beyond accepting, and look at the ways to tackle this,” commented Jason.

As identified in the first roundtable session, the perspectives of both the industry, and the wider public, are changing significantly and with that, organisers will need to position wellbeing at the forefront of their business decisions. But how do we achieve this? Do we as an industry need to be looking at wellbeing differently? Jason said; “People are caring more about themselves and their lives and we need to be looking at relevant case studies that bring this argument to life in front of businesses. We need to see what has worked and what hasn’t. We need to be watching businesses who have not just embraced wellness but have done it well and are seeing actual results, and then use those successes to think about how we can adopt their methods into our own businesses.”

It is clear however, that whilst discussions suggest this should be a necessity to business, the challenges, such as the difficulty in measuring results or seeing profitability, can often dissuade businesses from introducing wellness programmes into their organisations. Jason said “One of the biggest drawbacks to managing wellness is that it isn’t instantly identifiable. Results are heavily based on the ‘before and after’, and businesses, much like event organisers, just don’t have the time or resources if they aren’t seeing instant results.”

In light of this, we asked Jason about Calisthetics, a health and wellbeing programme he created to tangibly measure wellness, to understand how he tries to overcome these barriers. “Most businesses say no when we approach them. They love the idea, they want to improve the wellness of their staff and instil a good culture, but the majority ultimately just said no. There’s no bottom line, there’s no ROI and without that, they find it difficult to commit,” explains Jason.

“How do I overcome this? I allow them to test it. I find the easiest part of the business to measure, be that the business leader or team members, give them the coaching and knowledge they need to be able to improve wellness and allow them to experience the results. If they see none, it’s on us.”

So, what happens next? As we plan our next step into our mission to create a case for wellbeing to business, we asked Jason to give his concluding thoughts on his predictions on where this could lead: “The more businesses start to see it working, the more that are likely to jump in on the fad. I predict that in two years’ time, most organisations will have adopted a wellness mindset, but only those who are truly taking the steps to prioritise the health and wellbeing of its staff will see actual results, actual profitability and achieve actual business sustainability.”

Throughout EEF’S campaign to address Wellbeing in events, and in our next series of blogs, articles and news stories, we will be following the journey of Calisthetics as a barometer to how business approaches wellness. Equally, we’re keen to know what you think, and would love your thoughts, ideas and opinions on this topic.

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