Host A Company Event! Once COVID-19 reached the shores of the United States, things quickly shut down, including in-person events. However, companies still need to train their employees and make plans for future gatherings. What does that look like in a post-pandemic world?
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t have a set number of people allowed at events, they mention you should limit attendance to ensure a distance of at least 6 feet between participants.
There are safe ways to host events for your attendees. Here are some things you can try to mitigate the danger:
1. Move Most Activities Online
The safest way of hosting a company event without too much exposure for participants is to move as many activities as possible online.
Do you typically host an awards show with everyone packed into a room? Instead, plan a smaller event with only company leaders and stream the awards online. Winners can accept the award from the comfort of their home or office.
When you remove a perk, such as a free awards dinner, replace it with something your attendees might like better. For example, you could send a dinner gift card to all your workers and even let them choose which restaurant they prefer.
2. Create Extra Space
When planning the layout of your trade show, plan for enough space to keep distance between participants. Make the aisles wider. Think about how the traffic flows and where there might be bottlenecks. How can you avoid that to maintain social distancing?
Many marketers believe live events are the most effective promotional tool. Think about how to entertain the masses and attract attention without creating too much physical interaction. If you hire a performer, space the chairs apart. If you do a demonstration, allow for a shorter presentation and smaller audience groups.
3. List Clear Guidelines
Figure out the protocol for the event. Will everyone wear face masks? Send out reminders before the event and hang up signs that clearly indicate public health expectations. Show attendees examples of 6 feet of distance with floor markers.
Many people don’t seem to understand what 6 feet means, so giving visual cues prevents a situation where the virus spreads. Have extra items on hand, such as disposable masks and hand sanitizer stations.
The CDC has some basic guidelines for businesses on their site that also work well for company events.
4. Train Your Staff
Well-trained event staff can circumvent problems before they arise. Talk about how to encourage attendees to follow the guidelines. For example, what if someone refuses to don a mask? How will you handle the situation?
Around 85% of an exhibitor’s success at a trade show ties into the performance of the booth workers. Whether you are hosting the event or simply have a display there, make sure those staffings know the best way to handle different situations that arise.
5. Follow Local Ordinances
Each city and state has a set of guidelines intended to reduce the spread of COVID. Work with local officials to figure out how to hold your event safely.
Some places don’t allow indoor dining. If that is the case, you may want to provide box lunches to your attendees. Other places limit the number of people, which means you’ll also have to limit the number of registrations for your event.
You can always hold more than one event and create shorter segments so everyone can attend on different days while still maintaining proper attendance levels.
6. Get Customer Input
You may be worried that the way a post-pandemic event looks is unappealing. Perhaps your customer base doesn’t like the changes and says they won’t attend. One thing you can do to keep customers happy is get them involved.
Offer surveys, ask for input and reach out to those who attend your events regularly. Customer feedback about your event can make or break future conferences. Positive reviews will help your business grow.
7. Move the Event Outdoors
The great outdoors offers space and fresh air. While you’ll still need to implement guidelines about social distancing and mask-wearing, you’ll also open up a lot of space by taking things outside.
Consider the weather where you live. If your company resides in the Pacific Northwest where it rains often, you may want to forgo an outdoor event. However, if you live in sunny Florida, the sun will likely shine and your gathering will go off perfectly.
8. Understand Audience Fears
Even when most of the population gets a vaccine and the threat of the current virus lessens, people may have remaining fears of growing ill. Understand who your audience is and what they might be most worried about.
If any of your customers are older adults, the fear of growing ill may linger. You might want to take some extra precautions to keep areas sanitized and let attendees know they are safe.
Even young people may remain leery for a while, as we’ve all been through a very difficult period. Stay in tune with what the pain points are for your customers and employees and do your best to alleviate them.
Open Your Doors
Once the pandemic passes, it is time to open your doors and resume activities. You’ll still need to consider guidelines and figure out how to keep people safe. Many businesses will change the way they handle some things forever. That’s fine. Know what elements are most important and embrace the new world so your business can grow.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a prominent digital marketing agency prior to becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.
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