For many months, corporate events have been off the table due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that restrictions are easing in many areas of the country, you can begin to plan your next company-wide celebration or training session. To make everyone feel comfortable and to reduce the risk of disease, you should consider working with a corporate event planner who can help you create a safe yet inspiring event.
You’ll want all the attendees to feel comfortable during your party or meeting, so you should determine what measures will be in place to reduce the transmission of COVID. Aside from keeping hygiene standards high, you can hold your event outside or utilize breakout rooms, send guests helpful advice ahead of time, make use of technology, and inspect the venue to make sure there is a way to ventilate the space.
9 Things to Consider When Planning Corporate Events Post-COVID
1. Find Out About Attendees’ Comfort Levels
When planning your company’s first event after COVID, you should find out how comfortable your employees and business associates are with socializing in large groups. Someone who is at risk from the virus and has been working from home for many months might not be as happy about attending your event as those who have been working in the office and are not in one of the vulnerable groups.
An easy way to find out what your employees think is to ask them to fill in an anonymous survey. That way, you can find out how many are likely to attend the event and what pandemic-related measures they would like to see. You can then tailor your event to suit your attendees’ needs and make sure that nobody feels uncomfortable about attending the party or meeting.
2. Inspect the Venue Ahead of Time
It goes without saying that you have to inspect your venue ahead of time. But in addition to the normal issues such as seating arrangements, decorations, and entertainment options, you’ll also have to figure out how easy it is for you to implement COVID safety protocols. One of the most effective ways of limiting the spread of disease is to ventilate rooms frequently, so you should make sure that there are windows or air filters.
If you’d like to take things one step further, you could even opt for an outside event. Many venues have beautiful parks and gardens, and some even offer covered spaces that allow you to hold your event no matter the weather. If you know that not all attendees are equally comfortable with socializing, you should consider a hybrid event with both indoor and outdoor spaces for your guests to use.
3. Testing or No Testing?
At the start of the pandemic, it was hard to determine whether someone had COVID because there weren’t many tests available. But nowadays, COVID tests can be purchased almost anywhere, and there are even places where you can get them for free. Therefore, you should determine whether attendees should take a test before coming to your event.
If your group includes vulnerable individuals, this could reduce the risk and increase everyone’s comfort level. Participants who tested positive can stay at home and attend via Zoom or another online platform.
4. Keep Hygiene Standards High
Even though many people are vaccinated or have already recovered from COVID-19 and are therefore less susceptible to catching the disease, it’s still important to keep event spaces hygienic. But if you’re not an expert, it can be hard to know what measures need to be taken. Speak to your corporate event planner about how to keep your guests as safe as possible and reduce the risk of surfaces being contaminated.
You could sanitize frequently used areas such as door handles before the event starts and at regular intervals during the party or meeting. Additionally, you should ask the venue about the measures they have put in place. For instance, some event spaces no longer use cloth chairs and have instead switched to wooden or plastic seating, which is easier to wipe down.
5. Sending Guests Information Ahead of Time
Once you’ve planned your event and determined the guest list, you can send out the invitations. Consider whether you should include information about pandemic-related measures on your invite, since this could influence attendance. Depending on the current restrictions and the comfort level of your guests, you could also send out a separate email with instructions to participants.
In this letter, you should state what you would like guests to keep in mind during the event. For example, you could ask them to observe social distancing guidelines and stay six feet away from others, sanitize their hands on a regular basis, or even wear masks during certain parts of the event. Clear communication is key and helps to avoid misunderstandings.
6. Use Technology to Help
During the pandemic, technology had to evolve rapidly to meet our changing needs. As a result, we now have more options than ever. If there are attendees who aren’t comfortable with socializing in groups, you could offer a virtual version of your event. By allowing people to join both in-person and online, you are making your event more inclusive. A side benefit is that you could invite even those employees and associates who are currently in a different city or state.
Your corporate event planner can speak to you about solutions that make planning and executing events easier. Some of the most innovative and exciting technological options are virtual queues that reduce the need for standing in line, event diagramming tools that can help you model your party or meeting, and hybrid events that allow people who are self-isolating to take part via Zoom or a similar platform.
7. Implement Green Solutions
While focusing on pandemic-related measures is key, it’s important not to forget about green solutions. The world is moving more and more away from single-use items and practices that damage the environment. Your event planner might suggest cutting down on paper by issuing electronic invites that can be scanned at the door.
Similarly, you could either opt for reusable or compostable cups, plates, and cutlery to minimize the damage your event does. Opting for a sit-down dinner or a packed lunch for each attendee is not only the more COVID-safe option, but it can also reduce the amount of food you waste. When inspecting potential venues, make sure to consider the environmental impact and whether it’s easy to plan a green event at the location.
8. Use Breakout Areas
Working in smaller groups has been a successful strategy for many years, as it allows employees to speak more freely and work more creatively. If you’re holding a training or team-building session, you should consider splitting your employees up into groups and allowing them to work in separate rooms. This can help to keep the event safe and allow for a livelier and more productive discussion.
As mentioned, outside events are always safer than indoor ones, so you should think about ways of holding these meetings in the event space’s gardens or at a local landmark like a beach or park. If the work you do requires more formal arrangements such as a whiteboard or laptops, you can choose breakout rooms that are well-ventilated and offer participants enough room to spread out.
9. Consult a Corporate Event Planner
Setting up a company-wide event was never easy, but it is much more complex now that various restrictions have to be observed. For this reason, it’s almost always sensible to speak to a professional event planner before making any decisions about your party or meeting. A professional can help you figure out what the best arrangements are, how to meet your employees’ needs, and how to observe the current government regulations.
Choose a planner who has worked on similar events before and who has experience dealing with COVID-19 restrictions. To find out whether an event planning company is right for you, you can first look at their website to see what projects they have done in the past. Then, you can book a meeting and let them know what you’re planning. They can give you some suggestions and ideas, and if you find them helpful, you can hire a planner.
Most people are excited to get back to socializing after months spent in isolation due to COVID-19. But despite this, it’s important to consider the various comfort and risk levels of your attendees when planning a big event. Before you book your venue, inspect it to make sure it’s easy to ventilate and think about whether you could hold part of the event outside or whether attendees could be split up into smaller groups.
You will need to determine whether testing is necessary, what pandemic-related measures should be in place, and what information you need to send your guests ahead of time. To make the process easier, you should consider working with a corporate event planner, who can help you find safe solutions and remain compliant with government restrictions. Call us now at King Sixteen to discuss your upcoming event and hire one of our professionals.