The lockdown across London is being eased. Non-essential retailers are now open and current expectations suggest hospitality and venues can start to re-open from the 4th July. We will wait and see on the last point, but it’s safe to say the lockdown is definitely being eased. When we do re-open, things will be different. We will still have to follow social distancing rules and, as the venue, we have to ensure that everyone feels safe. So how is this going to impact how events are run in the post Covid-19 era? These are our thoughts…
Smaller, more frequent events
Social distancing simply means you can get less people in a given space. If you have to train the same number of people, it means more events.
If it doesn’t make sense to hold more events, then hybrid events may be the solution. As a delegate at a training event, it’s not the best experience if someone is sitting at the other end of a Zoom call and talking at you. Sharing a PowerPoint presentation with you isn’t going to make it much better. A hybrid event will deliver a much better experience for both the trainer and the delegate. A hybrid training event is where some people are at the venue, with others being online.
The trainers will be in a venue where they can move around; where they can demonstrate what they are training people on. Microphones on the trainers ensure that all delegates hear everything and, depending on the amount of movement, fixed or mobile cameras deliver the imagery needed. Some delegates may be in the room with them. Perhaps those who live/work only a short distance away and who can get to the venue with minimal Covid risk.
The event hosting application can then deliver questions, feedback and survey results back to the hosts. Products such as Hopin, Grip AI can easily be used for this.
Hybrid events will deliver a better experience than a Zoom call but there is still a certain lack of interaction between people. Although vast numbers of people are now, and will be for the foreseeable future, working effectively from home, we all miss that face to face interaction. We are, after all, social animals that thrive from that physical engagement.
Simultaneous events mean smaller groups in multiple locations, linked together by technology. Imagine Last Night of the Proms, but on a smaller scale!
These events means delegates get to talk to humans, not screens. A trainer is likely to be in each location for questions and clarification, as needed. A part of the Countrywide Hotels group, we can easily organise multiple events across the country to happen at the same time.
Bento Boxes and cup stickers
Food and drink present another issue when you look to maximise social distancing, but still keep breaks to a reasonable period. You don’t want lunch taking up 1/3rd of a training day, simply because it takes that long for the delegates to queue and be served.
We have a Covid menu, consisting of boxed meals for each part of the day. You choose which box you require (pre-ordered) and quickly pass a table to collect them. Socially distanced tables, or even outside space, allow people to eat without masks and without fear.
At Glaziers Hall, we removed single-use cups in 2019, replacing them with glass and crockery. Delegates will be encouraged to keep hold of the same cup/glass all day. Whether that means stickers or charms to help identify them is a matter of preference.
Dedicated, separated, spaces
Whilst you will have a dedicated room, and perhaps a syndicate room, for your event, there is always one area where people are made to get much closer than social distancing allows: the entrance.
Luckily for us, the three floors at Glaziers Hall can be separated, each with their own entrances and exits. By having your own floor you can be confident that your delegates will not be mixing with others.
Thermal cameras can identify individuals with a high temperature. Although not the only symptom of Covid-19, it is a common one, so people can be identified and isolated from an event. Some cameras, for bigger events, can also recognise whether people are, for example, wearing masks. Expect to see there appearing at train stations shortly.
Nobody likes the idea of cameras in public toilets, but thermal sensors may be a way to count people using the facilities, so they don’t become over-crowded and impact social distancing.
Locations that are easy to get to, with few public transport connections, are likely to be more popular than others. The government’s latest instruction, making it compulsory to wear facemasks on public transport does reduce the risk, but multiple trips expose you to more people…
With London Bridge station (rail and tube) just a two minute walk away, we are fortunately positioned. We also have a Boris Bike station just 50 metres from our front door. If you do get the mainline train into a station other than London Bridge, you don’t need to use the tube to get here.
These are just a few of the ways training events may change in the post-Covid world. We all hope that, after a period of time, that the problem will go away completely, but it will take time. Until then, events will still need to take place and these changes will help. To find out more about how Glaziers Hall is working to protect our guests, click here.