TUESDAY 25 MAY 2021 12:25 PM


A survey from the Pulse Business has found that 39% of senior comms professionals are not open or communicative when talking about their feelings and mental health at work.

Respondents cited leadership responsibilities as one of the main reasons for withholding feelings in the workplace. Others simply stated that speaking about emotions at work is not appropriate, instead opting for self-sufficiency and resilience to stay focused.

One director working in the professional services sector says, “Everyone is experiencing problems of some kind. It's my job to stay positive and for colleagues to know they can rely on me. I am vulnerable about my feelings at times but I don't discuss them.”

Deborah Oliver, master of the Company of Communicators, says, “It appears we have been overlooking the needs of our senior comms leaders in an industry renowned for understanding the craft of communication. The suggestion that some of our senior practitioners are reluctant to speak up because they don’t want to let the side down is concerning. No one is super human and if there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that we all need support and nurturing, no matter how experienced we are.”

The research encourages comms leaders to step up and be role models for managing mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. A director in the financial sector says, “I think if those at the top do [talk about their feelings], it gives permission for all others in the organisation to follow suit.”

Leadership entails high stress levels and responsibility, with 64% admitting to feeling stressed at work. The biggest challenges for comms leaders were reported to be keeping staff motivated and managing their team’s mental health and wellbeing.

The Pulse Business developed the Communications Index Pulse in partnership with Whitney Murray. Over 1,000 senior comms leaders in both in-house and agency positions were contacted for the survey.