The media industry is no stranger to tight deadlines, long hours and stressful conditions. Even as the pandemic draws more attention to mental health issues like burnout and anxiety, are newsrooms and PR firms doing enough to keep their employees happy and healthy? What makes for good work-life balance (or work-life integration), and how can one deal with a toxic work environment?
To answer these questions and more, Telum Media chatted with:
- Tan Shiow Chin, Deputy Editor, Health, The Star
- Grace Yeoh, Senior Journalist, CNA Digital
- Rex Remitio, Correspondent, CNN Philippines
- Lynda Williams, Founder & Managing Director, Vim & Vigour PR / Co-Founder & Editor, The Soothe
Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:
- Workplace well-being is more than bells and whistles like sleep pods and gym memberships. It also extends to a sense of psychological safety and a nurturing environment where people feel comfortable being themselves.
- The media industry can improve well-being by better allocating tasks and manpower, normalising conversations about mental health, raising literacy on how to cope with stress and managing client expectations.
- Some ways to avoid burnout include untangling one's identity from work and finding purpose elsewhere, scheduling regular holidays and breaks, identifying stressors and paying more attention to self-care.
- If someone else is going through a tough time, check in on them and be careful to avoid judgment. Take the time to listen and try asking questions instead of giving unsolicited advice.
- Everyone has a different outlook on work-life balance, so it is important for leaders and employers to understand what well-being means to their team, rather than simply check the usual boxes.
- There is a difference between enjoying work and being a workaholic. The former is a choice while the latter is a compulsion.
- When faced with toxic work conditions, note down the facts and ramifications and speak to your bosses and HR department. If they are not understanding, it may be time to walk away.
- Some tips for winding down at the end of a busy day: Exercise conscious breathing, spend more time with nature, get enough sleep, write down what you're grateful for, acknowledge your emotions and be kind to yourself.