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BrightonSEO September 2019 – wellbeing and inclusion in SEO

BrightonSEO September 2019 is now done and dusted. What a spectacular event! I can safely say it is the biggest search marketing conference in Europe, if not the world.

All the talks that we attended gave us a plethora of different ideas to think about in our work, but two particular talks really resonated with me this time.

Just before lunch, I had the fortune to sit through the Wellbeing and Inclusion panel at this year’s autumn conference.

Happiness will make you rich was a talk by Allegra Chapman, an organisational values consultant. I found her perspective unique as she managed to bridge the gap between employers and employees when it comes to work benefits and company culture.

When it comes to it, keeping your staff happy will have a tremendous benefit to everyone involved and to your bottom line. Staff don’t care for gimmicks like table tennis table or beer pong but would love more flexibility to be parents and to work remotely, for example. You can view her slides below:

The second session was so inspiring to me and rang true on many occasions – Keep Up or Give Up: Imposter Syndrome, Burnout and Mental Health in Digital by Amy McManus from AM Marketing. During her 20-minute segment, Amy told the story of her own career and her struggles with imposter syndrome and burnout, when working for a digital agency and subsequently starting her own.

When it was time for audience participation, it became clear than most of us have suffered from these issues – when you think you are never good enough, although you have years of experience in your industry. What I found fascinating was the reasons behind this in digital/tech kinds of jobs – the ever-changing landscape and search engine updates can result in constant insecurity.

Kristin Chirico / BuzzFeed

Amy drew comparisons to other industries, where things are changing at a much slower pace:

“The digital industry is the only industry you can work in where you can go to sleep an expert and wake up a novice. We have a rapidly changing industry and this leads to a tremendous amount of mental health issues in the industry.”

Another reason that she gave was the young age of the workforce. Most people working in digital are 30 or younger.

Finally, things like not being able to switch off and the constant emission of blue light from your devices leads to troubles sleeping and concentrating. Unfortunately, we are more prone to burnout due to the nature of our work.

How do Amy and her agency solve these problems? 

  • Personal Growth Charts, reviewed on a regular basis
  • No late nights – you will end up being less productive anyway
  • No holiday emails – we need to learn to switch off!
  • Work at an 80% capacity to lower the risk of burnout
  • Mental Health Days – we should all be able to talk about our mental health and not experience stigma about it. You don’t want to have the first conversation about mental health with an employee when they are already starting to struggle.
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