The Viva Series, Part 2: Events as the New Workplace—A 2022 Reality?

January 18, 2022

John D’Adamo

John D’Adamo is Head of US Sales for U.K.-based hybrid events platform VenuIQ. Based in Florida, he boasts more than 10 years of experience within the events industry and has built long-standing relationships with some of the world’s most respected brands. His appointment and goal of establishing VenuIQ’s American entity mark a pivotal moment in the company’s development.

We are seeing the “Great Resignation” take hold, as employees are suddenly realizing they have more options and are demanding better lives for themselves and their families. 

Commutes are out the window in favor of remote work arrangements, as many employees can now conduct their jobs from anywhere, and cities are being forsaken for suburban and even rural areas, with key buying priorities changing from the transport links to the Wi-Fi strength. 

I kept this in mind when a remote working opportunity presented itself, and I moved from the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C. to relatively slow-paced Southwest Florida to be closer to family mid-last year. There are many similar cases happening around the world. 

On December 11, the New York Times put out an article discussing how “return-to-office” delays are continuing indefinitely for many companies like Docusign, Ford Motor Company and Lyft. There is still a human need to safely gather in-person, but due to costs, logistics and health concerns amid the pandemic, these gatherings will likely be limited to a few times a year and will need to be impactful. 

The second installment of my multi-blog series discussing lessons learned and predictions for events in the aftermath of IMEX America 2021 in Las Vegas focuses on one unique way events such as conferences and trade shows will change moving forward. 

Part 2: Events as the New Workplace 

Following a wildly successful IMEX America 2021 in November and given the competitive candidate/talent market, events such as conferences and trade shows are set to become “the new workplace” for remote teams. 

Not only will they be used in the traditional way of bringing buyers and sellers together, for example, but they will also now be used more often as settings for teams to meet internally. 

As Anca Trifan, founder, creator and CEO of Tree-Fan Events, put it: “In-person industry conferences might as well be the future of how remote teams get to have the in-person face-time required to solidify the relationship started virtually.”

At IMEX America last November, many organizations were doing exactly this. I met my U.K.-based co-founders, Oliver Rowe and Phil Mayling, in person for the first time following travel restrictions, and we seized the opportunity to not just network with our ideal buyers but to also meet each other and have some sorely needed time working together. 

“With our teams spread out across the globe and as much as remote working is a reality nowadays (thrust forward probably 10 years by the pandemic!), it’s very important to get the face-to-face time in,” Rowe said.

As events gradually turn back to the “in-person” experience as well as online, Rowe added that he sees this happening much more at many events, where attendees are using them as not only an opportunity to engage with the event but also their own teams. 

“For me, it’s always invaluable to spend that in-person time with my team wherever possible and safe to do so, and at an event—it’s the perfect time!” he said.

In addition to getting together for a business meeting, a meal or a happy hour, a few outside-of-the-box ideas for internal teambuilding during an event could include activities such as escape games and culinary experiences such as cooking classes. 

Regardless of your preference for activity, the key take-home point is that if organizations want to stay competitive, they need to be thinking strategically and creating unique experiences for their remote teams, in addition to the standard networking experiences that events offer. 

Remote working has moved beyond the point of a necessity in the face of adversity and has become a competitive perk for many jobs battling to recoup talent post-Great Resignation. 

Investing in these experiences and embracing the conference or trade show hall as the new workplace is vital for attracting employees and ensuring current talent is connected and firmly part of the company.

So, what will your activity be?

Stay tuned for the next blog in The Viva Series, which will focus on predictions and other thoughts from event professionals on what's in store for events in 2022.

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Partner Voices

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