Events in the Time of Corona - Everything You Need to Know
If you’ve been wondering what large-scale events are going to look like in a post-Corona world, you’re not alone. At a time when people are missing human contact, group lunches, office socials and/or wellness perks, team engagement can suffer. Company events help forge bonds and foster a sense of togetherness; with only 52% of British workers having returned to socially distanced offices at last count, that loss of connection with colleagues is keenly felt.
While government restrictions still limit in-person gatherings, there’s never been more need for creative thinking when it comes to workplace events. Whether it’s company award ceremonies, team-building and training days, sessions focused on wellbeing and mental health or the annual Christmas party, employees need to have something to look forward to; something to celebrate, now more than ever.
Just because your teams can’t all pack into Anthracite Lounge or face the dizzying heights of London in the Sky this year, doesn’t mean you can’t do your future functions justice. And we’re here to help you do just that. We’ve come up with five key things to get your events back on track and your teams back in sync (see what we did there?):
Safety first - Health and safety has a bad rap, but as we find our way in the ‘new normal’, it needs to take front and centre stage. Some people will be naturally more anxious than others. It is also likely that some of your team may be at higher risk (or living with those who are) and therefore need to take additional precautions. If you're looking to host an in-person event, find venues and event spaces that are doing this well - increased hygiene operations, one way systems, additional safety measures for food preparation, multiple rooms for different teams, space for social distancing etc.- and share this information openly with your teams so you can both allay any fears and show you care by taking it seriously.
Plan ahead - If you have co-located teams, staff in different time zones and/or a workforce in the hundreds or thousands, you’re going to need more time to work out logistics and budget. Hybrid events that allow for physical and virtual attendance will be favoured going forward, especially for larger, international organisations. Hosting functions that offer remote and in-person attendance, with neither side missing out on atmosphere or experience, will maximise involvement and contribution.
Inclusive, not exclusive - Find out what your staff needs are and meet them. Whether in-person or online, luxury or not, measures need to be taken to ensure those with disabilities (both visible and non) are catered for. Bolstering accessibility by captioning talks, shows and music gigs, providing clear masks to help communicate with those hard of hearing and/or vision-impaired when necessary and ensuring any venues are wheelchair accessible is paramount and allows for greater participation. Win win.
Invest in tech - Whether you’re hosting an online event, a hybrid one or a fully in-person function, your technology needs to be up to scratch to ensure not only is the joining process and attendance is as smooth as can be, the content is first-rate, and your people remain engaged and safe throughout. Strong internet connection is a given, but you also need to scope out:
video conferencing options that offer breakout rooms, Q&A polls, chat and networking functions and social media integration,
venues that allow app-based food and drinks ordering to avoid congregating at a bar;
companies that hire out top-of-the-range (pre-sanitised) equipment. Just make sure you do a number of test runs beforehand to iron out any niggles in good time.
5. Content is king - Quizzing is so May 2020 - no one enjoys hearing, ‘Can you repeat the question?’ three times every 10 minutes, let alone when there are 200 of you on the call. Now's the time to be doing something that truly excites and engages people so why not try the following:
Digital entertainment - whether offering weekly informal get togethers, comedian hosted team games or family friendly workshops (learn to beat box anyone?) bringing everyone together online in a relaxed environment has become the new Friday night drinks. If you’re feeling really fancy and want to create a Christmas party to remember, you can go big and go home. Curate a dazzling evening of streamed entertainment featuring comedy, music, dance and other novelty acts, propose a black-tie dress code (the Queen might be there after all) and have them seated in the best seat in the house - their own living room. Ensure Secret Santa delivers a VR headset so they can sit back, relax and enjoy a great night from the comfort of their own home, which to them will look and feel like the Royal Albert Hall for one night only. One will be very amused.
Wellbeing workshops + experiences - we can tailor the perfect one off session or ongoing programme of events for your employees or clients across Nutrition, Mindfulness, Movement, Creativity, Conscious Living and Work Life Balance, as well as inspirational talks programmes focusing on mental health. These can take place in smaller groups in the office for those back on site, at a COVID secure venue (talk to us for a pre-vetted list) or as virtual live webinars and recorded content to connect remote workers.
Think inside the box - our interactive mailers for staff + clients ensure those at home can fully share in the experience. We can produce bespoke DIY maker kits and deliver them to homes ahead of the group online tutorials, as well as care packs and goody bags for after work relaxation or fun and games. Or if you are looking for a creative way to thank your top clients or wow press and influencers around a new campaign, why not send a beautifully presented and highly Instagrammable bespoke gift which also taps into current trends - think foodie, self care and family friendly. Signed, Sealed, Delivered!
Socially Distanced Socials - Who doesn’t love a beverage and a boogie? After months of no nightlife we are all craving the opportunity to let our hair down... whether as a welcome back get together, Hallowe’en party or looking forward to Christmas - we would be delighted to produce an all singing and dancing cabaret show with tables of six enjoying a slap up meal and variety of performance. Or why not wow guests with an immersive style of experience where controlled groups can explore interactive set design and encounter roaming entertainment. We also work with a host of pop up productions offering exclusive bookings if you are looking for a ready made more cost effective solution.
Organisations that are adaptable and see this as an opportunity to reinvent the events landscape, rather than a challenge, will reap the rewards. There's no room for ‘same same’ anymore, it’s time for something different.
Looking for more ideas to help plan your next event and make sure it goes off with a bang?
Get in touch with one of our expert planners here.