The COVID-19 pandemic has changed workplaces dramatically over the last year.
Many people have been working from home, more of our meetings are held virtually, and large gatherings have been nearly eliminated.
But now that we are in a new year, many people are wondering about how to plan for special events such as employee recognition and awards events in 2021.
- With vaccines now being distributed, when will in-person events be held again?
- In the meantime, should we hold events virtually or just delay them?
- What is the best way to hold a virtual event?
With these questions in mind, here are a few suggestions for you for special events in 2021.
Be conservative in your plans for in-person events – Right now, don’t expect to hold any in-person events in the first half of the year. The vaccine distribution will take time, and public health experts remind us that we need to be patient. Stay current with the public health guidelines in your state and community, and follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You do not want to plan a big event and then have it cancelled at the last minute due to a spike in cases. If experts say you may be able to hold events in August, for example, you likely want to wait until September to plan an event, just to be on the safe side.
Virtual events can be meaningful and memorable
Hold events virtually instead of delaying them if possible – Most organizations hold events on certain schedules each year. If you honor your employees with awards each May, for example, you likely want to stick to that schedule instead of waiting a few months to hold an in-person event. In these challenging times, it is very important to make sure your employees know how much you value them. You can do this in a virtual event. It will help with morale and can help you stick to your usual schedule.
The same is true for additional special events you hold every year. If you really want to hold an in-person event, you can still plan for a special gathering after it is deemed safe to do so.
Planning for a virtual event – Just like an in-person event, there are countless ways to hold a virtual event. The key, though, is to be prepared, know your audience, and keep it simple when possible. First, make sure you have all of the technology you need in place. If you want slides, music, videos, or anything else technical, talk with your IT team to make sure you can do what you are planning. You may want to consider recording some videos ahead of time instead of doing everything live. Here are three tips for your virtual event.
- Be sure to practice. Go through the exact order of events so that you know how to transition from one item to the next.
- You can still pass out awards and trophies. Awards can be shipped to honorees and can be shown during the virtual program. The award winners and others taking part in the event will want to see the trophies and plaques.
- Keep the remarks short. This is key for most events, but it is especially true for virtual events. Most virtual remarks should be shorter than in-person remarks simply because it is more difficult to keep your audience’s attention. You can still present a dynamic and meaningful speech, just be aware of the time and try to keep it short.
Finally, have fun with your events in 2021. Whether they are in-person or online, it is an important time to celebrate accomplishments. Life has been challenging, and it is a wonderful time to remind your employees, colleagues, and partners how much they are appreciated.