Our team at Best Corporate Events has spent most of this year dedicated to adjusting and developing new offerings to suit the virtual environment necessitated for all of us by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been both fun and rewarding to innovate and create a whole new line of virtual programming, plus our clients have loved the entertainment, connection, and development they’ve still been able to accomplish through our programs while remote.
But what will happen to all of these programs once the pandemic is over? This is a question we’ve asked ourselves repeatedly during this time, and we have continually concluded that there will always be a place for virtual programs in the events sphere, with or without the requirements of social distancing. It’s encouraging to see that experts in the industry agree with our thoughts, and we were excited to come across an article from Fast Company that highlights the advantages of keeping virtual meetings and events in rotation even when we do return to the office. We had some key takeaways from this article as we reflected on what it would mean for the future of virtual events.
- Some employees already worked remotely before COVID. While it was an adjustment for many to get used to working virtually, parts of the workforce who already worked remotely have finally been granted even footing with their office-dwelling colleagues. Continuing to offer virtual meetings and events when workers return to the office will maintain this level playing field for remote workers, who otherwise can feel left out or marginalized by their physical distance and separation that prevents them from joining in on in-person social interactions with their colleagues like informal conversations, casual learning opportunities, office happy hours, and more.
- Companies have nationwide and international offices. Much like remote workers, having multiple office locations can present barriers to colleagues in different cities or countries from connecting and operating as a cohesive team. Working and connecting online eliminates this barrier, and allows employees in all locations to communicate and socialize more easily and therefore feel more connected.
- Bring the virtual lessons we’ve learned with us into the future. As we all navigated the sudden shift to virtual, there were certainly stumbling blocks on how to effectively work, meet, and socialize in a remote environment. Taking the lessons we’ve learned and innovations we’ve created with us into the future allows us to continually improve the virtual experience, and not start at square one. While virtual platforms present an opportunity for connection with all colleagues regardless of work location, we also learned that there is a balance to be maintained to avoid the now infamous ‘Zoom-fatigue’ and over-extending work hours by blurring the lines between ‘work’ and ‘home’ environments. Applying our lessons from this time moving forward will only provide better virtual experiences that will support companies who will likely be looking to provide more flexible working arrangements to their employees moving forward as well.
The reality is, virtual isn’t going away – and that gives us all the opportunity to take advantage of the unique characteristics and advantages that come with remote meetings and events, now and in the future.