How to organise great company events with social distancing – Five top tips

After 6 months of complete shutdown, the corporate events industry is starting to open an eager eye and emerge from hibernation.  Businesses are tentatively returning to a new normal and are looking at a backed up diary of off-sites and away days that now, somehow, need to be organised from within a very different framework than previous years.  

New rules, new procedures and new priorities govern every aspect of hospitality, conferences and training, so how do you go about organising covid-safe company events in a pandemic environment?  Here’s our five top tips:

1. Get Outdoors

Current Government guidelines suggest that it is safer to be outdoors than indoors and that groups of up to 30 people can take part in outdoor activities.  This works well for company events as many conference venues and country house hotels have outside space suitable for a range of activities.

Marquees can be used, but sides need to be removed to allow for adequate ventilation and routes of entry, exit and circulation must be clearly marked.  Marquee capacities will be a lot less than many sites state to allow for social distancing.

For breakouts and post meeting wind-downs the classic country pursuits activities adapt well to the current safety guidelines and allow for social distancing, as do some the the fun and family activities that aren’t inflatable based.  The main considerations to take into account are; how can the activity be cleaned in-between participant use and can the participants be kept safely apart.

2. Travelling without moving

With the current reluctance to travel on public services, and many teams working from home, keeping travel to a minimum would appear to be a good plan.  Search for alternative venues near to your workforce to reduce travel risk.  Venues are crying out for business so look around for unusual options that you may not have considered previously.  Can teams walk or cycle to the venue?  Could you hold multiple, smaller events in different areas for separate ‘bubbles’?

3.  Breathing Space

Ensure that whatever activities are chosen, that social distancing can still be applied.  Many activities can be adapted for current safety guidelines, including hands off instruction, the wearing of masks and visors as well as well marked waiting areas and access routes.   

At Eventive, we have created a Covid-Aware traffic light system for all of our activities to show which are suitable for current use.  Green activities have been safely adapted for use, Amber activities are safe but carry a slightly higher risk due to participant/instructor proximity, and Red activities cannot currently be offered.

4.  Buffets are out

Catering for company events has changed somewhat with the eponymous buffets being off the menu due to the danger of contamination.  However, this is a great opportunity to try new catering choices such as mobile pizza ovens, street food stalls and bento boxes.  If your venue offers catering, push them for ideas to see what they can offer.

5.  Gear Up, and down

Conferences and company events can be notoriously wasteful, with giveaways, endless single use water bottles, pads, pens, hats… the list is endless.  Many of these cannot currently be used for hygiene safety so consider how best to go contactless.  Use eInvites, virtual name badges, electronic stationary and notes, and ask teams to bring their own water bottles.

Provision of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) needs to be a consideration to ensure that masks, gloves, and even visors are freely available to attendees, as well as means to dispose of used equipment safely and in an environmentally responsible way.

Organising covid-safe company events in the current climate is challenging but, with a bit of forethought and planning, it can still be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for organisers and attendees alike.

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