Andrew White on how changing workplace culture is evolving the traditional event model.
The who, what and whys of business events has changed and there’s little point in holding on to the tried and tested event formulas of ‘day delegate’ or ‘24-hour rates’. Corporates are still struggling to get their people back to the workplace as hybrid working continues and the notion that employees are TWaTs (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) has a whole new connotation.
We are dealing with new workplace cultures and there are significant ramifications on the traditional event model:
• The workplace is no longer recognised as the place where tasks and actions have to take place, instead the workplace is the hub for interaction and creativity and brings company cultures to life
• Digitisation of the workplace has proved that some parts of the job, and some types of events, are just as adequately accomplished in a digital format
• The pressure of working from home also brought employee wellbeing to the fore and has led to a new set of considerations for event planners.
The tradition of a full day conference packed with speakers and content is diminishing as corporates look for ways to bring their teams together, to re-engage, to communicate and to prove their worth as an employer. As Kate Morgan’s piece points out ‘every minute of our time is precious. If our bosses want it, they’ve got to use it wisely’.
Events are being curated in an entirely new format away from the traditional confines of four walls. We are quite literally stepping outside, drawing air, and using the outdoors for inspiration because it is good for our mental health. Steven Bartlett, super nova of social media and the youngest Dragon on Dragons’ Den, is one of the headliners at Ideas Fest, a celebration of business disruptors, creatives and change makers in a field in rural Hampshire. It is two days of conversations, ideas and engagement with likeminded people which could easily have been activated in a drab purpose-built event venue with the only draw being a trip on the new Elizabeth Line.
Hotel and venue group Exclusive Collection is again leading the charge and have acknowledged changing event formats along with the need to consider their guests’ and delegates’ wellbeing. They understand that it’s all about the experience and bringing about an atmosphere that encourages engagement (and using time preciously). They have just launched a series of experiences to heighten delegates’ learning and bolster personal wellbeing.
We all remember scenarios and situations for positive reasons, we rarely choose to remember dull walls and being talked at for hours! Time is precious – use it wisely. And in doing so see how engaged and enthused your delegates become; you never know you may even encourage them away from being TWaTs.
“The pandemic put an end to required birthday cupcakes, team happy hours and forced ‘fun’ activities. Many workers are deeply relieved”.
Kate Morgan, BBC Worklife.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew White is MD of Triggerfish Communications, a specialist in helping heritage venues and leisure attractions build awareness and market share in the business of events. www.triggerfish.co.uk