Top tips on planning a covid safe event.
As restrictions are slowly lifted, many people are starting to plan their live events. Various ‘test’ events are being held over the next few months and it will be interesting to see what recommendations come out of these. But it is probably safe to presume that masks, social distancing, and therefore reduced numbers might have to be part of our event plans for some time to come.
We have been speaking to venues which are booked up until early 2022, but many of these events have rolled over from last year. Therefore, organisers will need to look at how they can adapt and change event plans to make them safe. Here are a few ideas.
Smaller events or a larger space.
Events may get smaller, partly due to social distancing and allowing space for this to happen. But a smaller group is easier to manage, especially while organisers and venues get used the impact restrictions will have on how events are run. Many attendees have been hibernating during most of last year, so a massive event could be quite daunting, therefore a smaller event might be more reassuring for them as well.
If events are smaller, why not run a hybrid event and broadcast the event live for those based further afield or for additional roles, who, due to numbers cannot attend, but would benefit from hearing the main presentations.
There may be a reluctance to use public transport, I know I would prefer to drive than get the train at the moment. If you do not have your venue booked, this could be something to consider when choosing a venue.
If your venue has outdoor space, utilise it. Could breaks or lunch be served outside, obviously the British weather might have something to say about this, so open sided marquees could be an option to give a little protection. Many venues have invested in their outside spaces. Getting people outside creates more space and a safer environment for some much-needed networking.
You could even take this a step further and plan a festival style event.
Face masks will probably have to be worn during sessions (again a good reason to get outside during breaks). But you could have fun with face masks. If splitting people into different groups, how about issuing different colour face masks on arrival, instead of badges.
Socially distanced room plan
I think it’s fair to presume rooms plans will need to allow for social distancing, this will massively effect attendee numbers, but I’m sure venues and event planners will come up with creative and interesting solutions to make this work. And done well, this could allow for more interesting content, engagement, and interaction.
Allocating seats to people would also be a sensible idea so if anyone tests positive after the event you can track who was near that person, rather than it affecting the whole group. Similar to how many senior schools are operating.
If you’re getting people together from across the business, you might want to keep local groups together. Where you would normally want to mix people up, you might decide to keep local groups together. This could work well especially if teams have been remotely working as I am sure they would benefit from seeing and speaking to their closest colleagues in person.
Communication and registration
Pre-event communication will be critical. Attendees will want to know what safety measure are in place and some will require reassurance. There may be a list of actions for the attendee. From ‘do not forget your face masks’, when ‘not to attend’, to even doing a lateral flow test before the event.
When delegates register, consider if there is any additional information you need to collect for you to safely plan your event or in case of a positive test post event.
This is currently being hotly debated and is proving to be a very divisive subject. If they are implemented, we don’t yet know if they will impact on corporate events or if it would be more voluntary participation. However, the example I have seen involves scanning a QR code to get access to their vaccine or test history. So, there could be a cost implication and at the very least this would slow up the registration / arrival process and require people to manage this.
Mass testing can again be a little divisive. If the vaccine passport goes ahead, this may not be required. But many companies are issuing tests to employees, so asking attendees to do a voluntary lateral flow test before the event and a few days after, might be a reasonable requirement. I would build something into the registration process so attendees can log this information.
It will be great to finally get back to live events and I believe they are an important communication tool and with good planning and sensible decision we can do this very safely.
Do you have any other tips on how to manage live events safely? We would love to hear them., contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org