Taking Ownership of a Crisis Situation
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted governments, businesses and individuals around the globe to make unprecedented life changes and economic sacrifices to stem the spread of the disease and save lives.
The events industry is not immune and faces momentous challenges to how we approach and facilitate business while observing social distancing measures, especially as we look toward an uncertain future for travel and gatherings. And, as many parts of society have been thrust into remote working, we too are confronting these industry transformations from our various living rooms, kitchen tables and home desks right now.
Yes, these days are tough. But OFCORES sees this time as a tremendous opportunity to advance the company, strengthen the ways we work together and demonstrate leadership for the wellbeing of our team and our community.
What do these practices actually look like?
Advancing the Company
It’s not just business as usual these days. As highlighted in March, we have fortified our virtual event technology solutions.
While every event has different goals and we work with each client to devise solutions tailored to their needs, some examples of how we successfully pivot from in-person to online gatherings include transforming breakouts into virtual roundtables, live networking to 1:1 virtual meet-ups, and keynotes to livestreams. We effectively leverage numerous technology and social platforms to bring your brand to life and maximise audience engagement and inclusiveness.
Further, thinking virtual is not a short-term patch solution for us. This is part of an industry trend transformation that we remain at the forefront of. Moving forward, our clients can select from wholly digital or hybrid event options as part of our customary services. Digital conferences are more accessible, can boost attendance, demonstrate better retention rates, open doors to endless virtual experiences, and deliver economic and environmental benefits over more traditional event forms.
The technical know-how we have cultivated over the years – including our affiliate relationship with virtual reality company DiscoVR – places us in an ideal position, as OFCORES adapts our business model to best serve the evolving needs and interests of every type of client.
As a close team accustomed to meeting together daily, as well as regularly visiting clients and venues in person, our communication methods required adjustment during this quarantine phase. Fortunately, we already had the technical tools in place to facilitate this switch from in-person to online communication. Thus, the real task was to increase our prioritization and efficient use of such tools.
"Communication works for those who work at it" - John Powell
For video meetings with clients or the office, we have had great success using our secure Whereby virtual meeting rooms. When it comes to more frequent discourse, we rely on Slack for team, group and individual communications. This tool’s chat functions, as well as collaborative channels, allow us to share files, organize conversations according to topics or projects, and conduct video calls with colleagues. Further, shared files on Dropbox and a shared team e-mail system through Front ensure that everyone stays on the same page and moves toward coordinated goals.
As a best practice, we maximize our meetings by keeping them short, concrete and frequent. Our full team meetings happen once per week, with overviews for each team member and transparent business discussions. Specific project members then have frequent video calls throughout the week to promote the most efficient workflow, avoid confusion and prevent duplicate efforts.
While some old processes were interrupted, we are now able to bring key insights and new collaborative skills back to our physical office in the future, emerging stronger from this remote time.
Leading within the Team & Community
It’s not all business. Making up for the in-person connection deficit requires more than focusing on just keeping up the business workflow. OFCORES has set up practices to compensate for the lost physical interactions by promoting our physical, mental and community wellbeing in the following ways:
- Participating in virtual team fitness classes (no equipment required) twice per week, led by Forza training coach Nick Audooren.
- Hosting periodic virtual team apéros.
- Bringing meals and groceries to those who need support in our neighbourhoods (while observing proper health guidelines!).
- Donating money and time at local shelters and food banks in need.
Despite the upheaval in day-to-day business operations around the world, OFCORES is transcending these obstacles and leaning into new business experiences. Our digital tools are protecting the human connection and engagement within our company, with our clients and with our virtual events. The present experiences help us build for the future, which looks pretty bright.