Within VaynerMedia’s New York Hudson Yards office is a quiet space meant to be a meditation room for agency employees to relax, filled with adult coloring books, a salt lamp and a chair.
For at least one agency staffer, it has become a safe space for panic attacks and crying sessions, known among her and some of her peers as the “cry closet.”
They happen when things get too tough at work. “Being at work exacerbated my problems because it made me face the fact that I felt very unfulfilled in my job because I felt that I was very bad at it.”
This staffer is not the only one. Agency staffers are reporting high levels of burnout and being worried about their mental health. For some, it’s linked to the very nature of the agency industry itself — hectic and relentless, dependent upon client whims and, these days, fraught with layoffs and other uncertainty.
In research conducted by Digiday+, 32 percent of agency professionals reported being worried about their mental health, and it doesn’t matter what kind of agency, whether media or creative. This was across both media and creative agencies. This is about in line with national statistics: Mental Health America found that about 35 percent of employees in the U.S. have workplace stress that they say affects their lives. Burnout is a hot topic: A recent article examined how errand paralysis, stress and the idea that you should simply be working all the time have contributed to millennials as the burnout generation.