PR jobs are consistently ranked among the nation’s most stressful occupations. In a 2019 study by CareerCast.com, 78% of respondents [in a public relations position] rated their job stress at seven or higher on a ten-point scale. “PR Executive” landed in the top 10 most stressful positions, behind firefighters, police officers and pilots.
Pressure from clients, getting told “no” from journalists more than once/day, crisis scenarios, goals that constantly reset higher and higher — the list goes on and on. Our jobs are never done. It can be enough to push you right out of a career you love. Which is why our agency puts a massive emphasis on mental health and work/life balance. So much so that one of our three core values is “enjoy life.”
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so we asked our employees to tell us, “How does BLAST support your mental health?” Here’s what we heard:
“When BLAST announced the addition of “Can’t do it” days and explained their purpose, I can’t begin to explain how happy I felt. Just knowing that if I need to take a “can’t do it” day because I. Just. Cannot. Even. is such a huge, huge deal. That is huge as is the expanded policy of PTO to take time to grieve the loss of a pregnancy or a pet. Not only does BLAST recognize the need to support its employees’ mental health, the company also walks the walk — it’s not just paying lip service. I have worked a lot of different places throughout my career and nowhere have I felt as valued as I do at BLAST.”
“Since day one, I’ve felt valued and looked at as a person before just another employee.“
“BLASTmedia supports my mental health by allowing us to have flexible schedules, helping promote a healthy work-life balance. Whether it’s having the option to work from home three days a week, no meetings on Fridays, or “Can’t Do It Days,” everyone at BLAST, especially the leadership team, understands that our lives outside of work come first, and without prioritizing mental health, we as individuals and the company as a whole cannot thrive. Since day one, I’ve felt valued and looked at as a person before just another employee.”
“I love how BLAST supports everyone with mental health. I think the mental health days are amazing and something no one I know has at their company. Thank you for leading the way and making the company culture what it is.”
“Last year one of my parents fell severely ill. So much so that I needed to spend time with them in the hospital. I knew, without even asking, that my team would tell me to not worry about work at all and to take time with my parent while they recovered. In addition to not worrying about work, several members of the team also checked in with me via text throughout the following days to see how things were going.”
“At this point, everyone knows how the COVID-19 pandemic has tremendously stressed working parents. I’m one of those many parents. But I’m one of the lucky ones. When my kids’ school went remote and aftercare was canceled for the year, BLAST allowed me to work part-time. And my coworkers even checked in to see how I was holding up and laughed with me as my son inadvertently called 911 during online school and occasionally came in for a hug during meetings. I really couldn’t ask for anything more.”
“I truly feel like BLAST values my mental health. The just can’t do it days were such a surprise to me when I first started. Having days dedicated to mental health just proves how much they care. My manager is also big on it. She encourages me to take them if necessary. Overall, I can tell BLAST is serious about mental health and that makes me feel comfortable at the company!”
This month our wellness and DEI committees have collaborated on a series of events to shed light on the importance of mental health:
- Neurodiversity Lunch & Learn: We hosted a session with Dr. Lori Desautels from Butler University to explore our nervous system’s response to stress, and discuss coping strategies for returning to base.
- Wellness Wednesdays: Throughout the month we’re sharing tips, tricks and conversation starters about mental health in our dedicated wellness Slack channel.
- Positive Affirmations / Happiness Board: We’re requesting people share photos / quotes / affirmations – anything that makes them happy – throughout the month in Slack. In the office, we have a board where our team members are responding to the prompt, “When is a time you felt your happiest?” for all to see.
- Yoga: We’re planning a whole-agency yoga session.
- Mid-Day Break: For 30-minutes at the same time, on the same day, the entire agency is taking a mid-day break to get outside, take a break, drink a glass of water, etc.
In addition to our spotlight on mental health this month, we strive to support our employees every day through flexible working hours, no-meeting Fridays, a hybrid work schedule, mental health days, inclusive bereavement leave, telehealth support and open, honest conversation with our team about how they’re doing as humans not just PR people.