THURSDAY 23 MAY 2024 3:32 PM


As the industry has predominantly shifted towards remote working, an ‘aways on’ culture risks heightening stress levels.

New research from the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has found that the vast majority of UK PR professionals (91%) have reported poor mental health in the last twelve months, with diagnoses increasing from one-in-four to a third. An 'always on' culture is contributing to feelings of overwhelm and burnout.

According to the report, conducted by Opinium, 70% of PR professionals worked from the office ahead of the pandemic; this year, the number is at 9%. Although those reporting their jobs as ‘stressful’ has remained consistent, reports of poor mental health have increased to 60%, compared to 51% the previous year.  “Amidst the rapid evolution of the PR industry, we must refuse to normalise stress as an inherent part of our culture,” says PRCA CEO James Hewes. “The past five years have brought significant change, with more on the horizon.

“As we navigate the shift to hybrid work environments, it's urgent to grasp the implications for our workflows and communication dynamics. A constant barrage of updates can hinder focus, and an 'always-on' mentality isn't sustainable.”

An ‘overwhelming workload’ is cited as the cause of stress by 58% of survey respondents, and as one reason 59% feel postpone taking annual leave. “It's time for leaders to amplify the conversation on mental health,” Hewes continues.

“While progress has been made in acknowledging and addressing mental health challenges, lip service alone won't suffice. We must ensure our actions match our words. By prioritising wellbeing, we pave the way for a healthier, more resilient workforce, benefiting both our businesses and our people."

CIPR CEO Alastair McCapra says: ““I am immensely proud of this partnership and the publication of this year's mental health audit. The findings shed light on the progress we've made and the challenges that still lie ahead. Notably, the data reveals an issue that is both unacceptable and unsustainable, with workload stress remaining the primary culprit.

"The report marks another pivotal moment in our journey toward creating a healthier, more supportive future for our industry. I encourage our respective members and the wider profession to carefully consider these insights and share them with your teams. By working together and taking decisive action, we can drive meaningful change and build a resilient, future-ready, and thriving PR profession.”