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What Will Business Events Look Like in the Future?

Jon Conelias - Mar 3 2021, 9:36:35 AM

Nobody can predict the future, but it's important to consider what business events will look like in "the new normal." Being in the business of booking, planning, and coordinating company events has enabled us to identify some common themes for a post-COVID-19 world. These insights will help leaders in human resources, client engagement, and event planning return to a world in which we can do business in-person once again. 

For now, gone are the times when coworkers came together spontaneously during after-hours outings. Employers these days are focusing their efforts on restructuring their practices to accommodate in-office and remote employees alike. For example, Hubspot is asking employees to designate whether they will work in the office, remotely, or a hybrid of the two. At a glance, HR will be able to see the variety of working conditions they need to support, especially when it comes to all-hands meetings and team-building events

Remote-first company culture isn’t isolated to a few companies. Office leases are still reduced compared to their pre-pandemic levels, understandably so. Over the course of 2020, operating teams made adjustments. On a large scale, many technology and service-based companies witnessed how employees remained efficient even in a work-from-home environment. In fact, in most cases, the elimination of a commute or idle office time actually increased productivity. The popularity of virtual or hybrid meetings and events also means reduced travel expenses and entertainment budgets. These learnings, combined with savings from eliminating office space without cramping productivity, mean there’s potential to decrease the operating budget across multiple line items while increasing efficiency. Remote-first work models could be the stuff corporate dreams are made of.

However solid these reasons are, they do nothing to dispel the reality of Zoom fatigue. We were not meant for eight or more hours of virtual conversations any more than we were meant to stay focused during a day’s worth of in-person meetings. A good virtual or hybrid event takes into consideration the strain of organic networking over video calls. Entertainment becomes more crucial, as well as the brevity and directness of your message. This need has made hosts or activities for hire that bookend any event extremely popular. Companies are leveraging entertainers, such as an interactive virtual magic show, to get people “in the door,” as well as a fun activity or even a game with prizes to ensure attendees stick around, like team trivia.

A well-planned virtual event can actually increase participation. Without having to plan an excursion or post-work pit stop, people have the freedom to stop by unencumbered by additional planning. This has especially been true for networking events and associations. 

Longer meetings, webinars, or all-day events can also benefit from mixing things up with a portion of the event for a virtual game show or any number of icebreakers for a large group. No matter what you have in mind, it's bound to make everyone's day a little brighter and the event much more enjoyable, not to mention, more memorable. 

Originally published at Mar 3 2021, 9:36:35 AM. Updated on Aug 25 2022.

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