Corporate Holiday Events, Planning the New Normal

Can you feel it? Events are more appreciated than ever. The global pandemic is finally being beaten back in Canada. We are so ready to get to our better, bigger life. Thanks in large part to Canadians valuing health procedures and the vast majority getting vaccinated, most areas of our lives are going forward with a new normal. As lock-down restrictions open up, event planning is returning from virtual rectangles to live, in-person events and a mix of both.

As you know, success and failure are very visible in running events. The secret is to involve stakeholders from the planning stage onward and the stakes are more important than ever. These days, there’s a greater demand for planning and details that go into events. Decisions will need to be collaborated upon, managed, deliberated, and guided by prevailing public health advice and provincial directives. Health procedures surrounding air management and general anxiety will likely still be concerns this holiday season. The fears of catching or, worse, spreading COVID-19 to loved ones may still be real. Start by listening to how your team feels about attending and participating at an event.

What will events look like in the holiday season? We can assume we’ll be on track to host in-person holiday events and not just drive-through and virtual ones. How your company will be approaching the work from home and office balance is another way of thinking of where your event planning can begin.

Flexibility for employees can be addressed with several solutions:

  • Augment or building momentum before live in person events with smaller events;
  • Breaking up larger in-person events into smaller sessions;
  • Require proof of full vaccine from health authorities for event access;
  • Offer relatively cheap rapid vaccine testing at the door;
  • Offer socially distanced tables and layouts with limited seating options;
  • Conduct staff training about physical and psychological health and safety;
  • Individually packaged meals;
  • Greater sanitization (which helped us all skip the common cold last year);
  • Live stream the holiday event entertainment for employees at home;
  • Offer drive-through events with a in-person component as an alternative.

Employee interaction, more than anything, is what drives organizations. It’s the small opportunities to chat with others that help team building. When colleagues swap stories and offer tips with each other, it strengthens overall connections. It’s these light communications that help make organizations run smoothly. Events of all kinds help bring teams together and help them later get things done more efficiently at work.

Let’s begin to plan for holiday events to celebrate not just employees and organizations. Let’s celebrate being together and what is likely a world victory of the greatest immediate threat of our times.

Dawne Eisenberg is CEO and Founder of Pop! Events Group, a leading event planning, rentals, and services firm based in Toronto, Ontario and was recently named one of Bizbash’s “2021 Must Know Event Pros.” Pop! Events Group has executed thousands of successful live, hybrid ,and virtual events over 16 years in business.


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