The UK Events sector is worth over £42 billion per year. Some of the worlds largest companies are headquartered here and team building forms the cornerstone of many a staff engagement strategy. Team based activities are a key element and proven tool for executing on this strategy improving peer group relations, retaining staff, increasing productivity and boosting morale.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are nothing new, but a new and highly infectious strain “Covid-19” previously unidentified in humans is rapidly taking hold around the globe and the repercussions for the global economy are immense.
The events industry is no exception, however at times of need the relevance for team building could not be any greater.
It's time to get smart!
So how do we continue to rely on team building and group meetings as a critical part of your own engagement strategy whilst also faced with the challenge posed by Coronavirus? Just because your staff are working remotely or are restricted from travel it doesn't mean they don't still crave the chance to interact and come together.
We answer the question of how to work with Coronavirus through careful planning and innovative use of cutting edge technology, all of which allows you to address staff morale through team building and that can also be applied to other types of events such as sales meetings, client briefings, conferences and training sessions. You'll see how we can all still reap the rewards of the team based activities you've come to know and love and that doesn't mean cancelling the show altogether.
1. Mobile Activities
Consider running smaller events at company offices rather than external venues. Most suppliers to the events industry have mobile capability and are able to bring the event to you and this applies to everything from the activities and entertainment to audio / visual, catering and even venue design.
This will reduce social interaction through exposure to public transport networks and the wider general public thereby minimising your teams chances of getting sick.
2. Streaming Tech
Utilise streaming technology such as webinars and streaming apps to effectively reach a wide audience. We've all got the power in our pocket to live stream small scale activities and where stage based presentation is concerned simply scale up your equipment.
Whatever the event, conduct this behind closed doors and live stream over one of the well known webinar / streaming platforms like GotoMeeting, You Tube. Periscope or even good old Facebook? Just choose your backdrop wisely and you'll still get that microphone snap for your linkedin profile!
Virtual Reality Team Building is a novel and fun alternative to host a team based activity. The idea being, employees can connect and play against other teams/offices, no matter where they are across the globe. This is ideal for big companies who have global offices or even national. It means employees can be united and take part in team building activities without having to travel or socialise in large groups.
HTC are taking this route with their Virtual Vive Ecosystem Conference (V2EC) being hosted in March. Genius!
4. Fragment your Event
Break larger events down in to smaller chunks and stagger their timings. Identify the smaller component parts of your event and build a workable schedule. Imagine smaller teams working through their tasks before cleaning the area down and vacating, and making space for the next group?
The benefits of doing it this way is that allows for far greater control over hygiene practice and the encouragement of increased personal space thereby reducing social interaction.
Obvious as it may sound you MUST implement strict hygiene controls for your event no matter who's coming, what you're doing or where you're hosting.
Any reputable supplier will be implementing their own response to the outbreak and should therefore be able to demonstrate strict adherence around self isolation where any staff present symptoms, and of course hygiene when interacting with your staff.
By changing tack and dynamically adjusting your plans to fit the new world order you can still bring your employees and guests closer together as a team allowing the bonding of employees between different offices whilst still responding to sensible precaution of avoiding large gatherings.
Feeling a little more optimistic now? Here are some additional steps you can take to really nail your Coronavirus Conscious Event :
- Hygiene Process - Increase awareness of good personal hygiene throughout your venue to staff, suppliers and attendees, ensuring fully sterilised equipment is used at all times and by providing and encouraging the regular use of anti-bacterial hand sanitiser for your everyone on-site. Map out a detailed "catch-all" cleaning regime for all areas.
- Hygiene Equipment - Ensure full sterilising and cleaning of all equipment and supplies. Stock up on anti-bacterial soap and hand sanitiser to be able to cope with excessive use.
- Hygiene Overkill - No degree of excessive cleaning is too much; consider all areas no matter how unusual. Regularly sanitise door handles, lift buttons, toilet doors. It's these high contact areas that can often go forgotten but will be likely sources of contamination.
- Limit Group Size - Socialising in big groups and travelling at busy times ideally avoiding public transport.
- Postponement Policy - Ensure that suppliers and venues offer a postponement policy to allow for peace of mind should an event truly be unable to proceed.
- Training - Provide your teams all of the tools, knowledge and process required to run a safe and successful event.
- Plan Remotely - Site visits can be run using video calls like Skype or Google Hangouts, even 3D scanning tech.
- Timing - Stagger times of arrival, activities and departure so you can avoid crowded gatherings.
- Food Hygiene - especially when they arrive, break out and eat.
- Social Distancing - Space out seating, tables and other furniture / installations to allow people to move around with much less contact.
- Alcohol - Limit the serving of alcohol if possible; people will relax and let their guard down and this is a problem if somebody is unknowingly carrying the virus.
- Pre-Event Screening - Rigorously screen all staff, suppliers and attendees prior to an event to exclude those that have travelled from affected hot spot areas.
- Coronavirus Officer - Nominate a responsible colleague to keep up-to-date with all government advice and ideally with enough seniority to make key decisions and with delegatory power.
- Outbreak Isolation Plan - Should you encounter a suspected case, make sure you have a clear action plan in place to isolate and ultimately help them to journey home.
- Contingent Strategy - Operate a contingent plan as you prepare for lower turnouts so this could involve having smaller venue or meeting space being on hand to fall back on or scaling back on catering.
As proven here by implementing sensible and effective strategies within your business using collaborative technology and common sense hygiene we can still come together. Your staff need your support more than ever before so it's time to use your initiative and to innovate; make full use of technology resources that are available, go beyond the extra mile with your hygiene policy, rigorously follow your plan and all being well your event can still take place even if it doesn't quite look the same as you'd originally hoped!
Author : Lauren Gough (Head of Corporate Events)
With over a decade of Events experience Lauren is an expert in Team Building, Corporate Events and Client Entertainment. Lauren can be contacted by email : laureng(a)chillisauce.com