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By Catherine Greenhill
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Covid-19 has completely shifted the industry. However, as delegates start to return to face-to-face meetings, there are a number of opportunities to create insightful, engaging and memorable events in the near future. This guide explains the different meetings available to organisers, and how they can be utilised to create a truly impactful event.
Lockdown restrictions confined most office workers to create makeshift desks at their homes. For many businesses, the move towards agile working and home offices is becoming more of a permanent fixture. While there are numerous advantages to this – saying goodbye to the long commute, for example – there have been some side effects.
According to a recent survey by the Institute of Directors, 74% of firms intend on maintaining the increase in home working. A smaller survey of bosses whose workplace use had been cut found 44% thought working from home was proving more effective.
However, the same report suggested that bringing teams together proves to be more productive and enjoyable. If the office is closed, exploring Covid-secure external venues can provide the productive boost needed to plan for the year ahead. These new working practices can be applied to meetings, too, with some delegates preferring a return to face-to-face meetings, with others finding it more comfortable to dial in remotely.
There are a number of different options available to businesses: whether that is board-level, creative sessions or learning and development. Here’s a breakdown of the options that may work for you.
In-person meetings can still take place and Warwick Conferences has adapted its facilities to meet government guidelines. The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with a number of companies returning to external venues for in-person meetings.
British Mensa was one of the first organisations to rediscover the benefits of face-to-face meetings, with its board of directors coming together for a creative brainstorm. The option of meeting in person is particularly useful for planning sessions, team gatherings and creative brainstorms.
A second option for event organisers is the hybrid meeting, which combines a physical and virtual event. Essentially, this option allows delegates to have the choice of attending either at a venue or online. Perfect for companies which have a number of office locations, hybrid meetings mean the decision is placed back into the hands of delegates.
Warwick Conferences launched its hybrid offering in the summer, ensuring those unable to attend physically don’t miss out. The service brings together Warwick Conferences’ award-winning facilities with its broadcasting expertise, providing a seamless experience.
Keeping it virtual
If you had planned a conference with hundreds – or thousands – of potential delegates, creating a virtual experience is the perfect option. Allowing limitless people to access via a secure and private online link, the session can be hosted at one of Warwick Conferences’ lecture-style theatres, or at home.
British Mensa was again the first organisation to capitalise on Warwick Conferences’ virtual conference services. After realising it would become impossible to host its annual general meeting (AGM) in person, it worked with the team at Warwick Conferences to ensure it could still go ahead virtually. The AGM was live-streamed, with all 18,000 members invited to participate.
What are the current guidelines?
When hosting face-to-face training sessions, along with other events (Note: referring to guidelines outside of a full National lockdown), venues are able to accommodate groups of up to 30 individuals according to Government guidelines.
Warwick Conferences has adapted to these social distancing regulations with appropriate measures in place at the venue itself, as well as the use of advanced technology to provide virtual and hybrid packages. Giving delegates peace of mind, strict cleaning systems have been implemented which include sanitisation stations, independent refreshment provision and keeping groups to their own social bubbles.
If you would like to discuss any of the options, please get in touch today.
Catherine specialises in the financial, legal and pharmaceutical industries. With over 30 years of experience in conference and events and business development, she is passionate about forming new and valuable relationships, and connecting clients to the solution that generates the best results for them.
Catherine dot Greenhill at warwick dot ac dot uk