Looking Ahead To The 2021 Event Landscape – and beyond!

The move to remote is no longer a new phenomenon – it’s the new normal, and with businesses across the globe coming up to a full year of working remotely, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. In fact, Firstbase, a specialist remote working software company, anticipate that ‘of the 255m desk jobs globally, a majority will be done remotely a majority of the time by 2030. This means that there will be 128m people working remotely by the close of the decade.” With this in mind, it seems likely that many major organisations will not be returning to their offices at full capacity for the foreseeable future, and possibly never 100% again.

Connecting In A Disconnected Time

This means that it’s going to be undeniably more important than ever for teams to be able to connect and communicate, because they’ll no longer have as much opportunity to do so in an office space. Add to this no immediate return to large-scale events in sight, and  companies across the globe are faced with a key question: How do we keep our staff and stakeholders engaged, connected, and enthused with so few opportunities to meet them face-to-face?

With the pandemic going on for far longer than many organisations initially anticipated, we know that companies that might have chosen to ‘sit tight’ and forgo their events schedule in 2020 are now realising that waiting to re-engage using their traditional large events calendar in 2021 simply isn’t going to be an option for the near future. With no tangible end to social distancing, and certainly no planned end to remote working in sight, we know that businesses can’t afford to go another year, or even another 6 months, without connecting. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that staff and stakeholders feel that communication is a priority within a business, and that they are being heard, appreciated, and engaged.

Embracing Virtual and Hybrid

Over the past year, we’ve had to quickly adapt to the world of virtual events in order to help our clients to make those much-needed connections. In the process, we’ve also seen how incredibly successful they can be, and going forward, it seems inevitable that virtual events will solidify their place as both a great means of creating connections, and as a useful support for live events.

In the short term, it’s undeniable that virtual needs to take centre stage – and with a myriad of different solutions, skillsets, and equipment available to help you deliver a highly engaging event, our experience over the past year has shown us that these can be incredibly successful. Virtual often makes for shorter turnaround times, and can be hugely beneficial in terms of reaching larger, more dispersed audiences, so they should definitely be embraced.

Looking ahead to your medium-term events calendar, with a return to in-person events, but with very limited, and strictly controlled audiences, hybrid events are going to be the best solution. This presents companies with an exciting opportunity to reassess how they can address the same key concern of engaging and creating a human connection with their clients and staff, when everyone might not be in the same place. With some people in the room, while others are taking part through a screen, it will be imperative to have a well-thought-through balance between the virtual and in-venue experiences  to successfully reach your greater audience. Being a year into finessing our hybrid and smaller-scale in-person eventing skills, we know that these hold just as much potential to create a tangible, lasting impression on your staff and clients.

Further ahead, when large-scale in-person events are once again possible, there’s no doubt that these will be in high demand. With numerous big organisations having already said that they’ll never return to having their full working force in an office again full-time, these events will be more important than ever, as they’ll be looking to big, in-person events to bring everyone together in one place to connect in a way that is just no longer possible in the office.

After what 2020 threw at us, it may seem daunting in this first quarter of 2021 to plan for the short, medium and long term, but it’s key to remember the endless opportunities that this new landscape can hold. If your company is ready to embrace the potential for connection, this could be your best year yet.

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