As we begin to plan the practicality and viability of a return to live events, here are a few of our ideas for making your conference COVID-Secure.
- Create a Robust Staffing Strategy
Decide how many people you realistically need to work on the project to make it safe and a success. Does everyone need to come on site? Can you be flexible with working from home during pre-production? Can you limit or stagger the amount of staff required at different phases, such as the site visit? Can you allow for a staffing contingency in case people are off sick?
- Promote Staff Welfare
Quite often staff will push through colds, headaches and viruses to keep working on an event – maybe due to a commitment to the cause, peer pressure to fulfill their role or simply that adrenaline and excitement that fires us all up! Promote a supportive environment where sick staff are willing to self-report and stay away from work without feeling guilty. Look for ways they can still fulfill their roles from home if they are able to. It could be the difference between one person being ill and the entire team being ill and unable to deliver the event.
- Limit Rehearsals On-Site
Now, more than ever, speaker management and committing to a running order in advance are vital. Rehearsals should be limited on-site to quick, staggered sound checks and stage familiarisation. Speakers need to prepare and practise in advance (perhaps having arranged slots with a producer in the days beforehand to run through their speeches on Zoom) and be aware minimal changes will be able to be made on site. Musicians and acts should be given as much information as possible in advance about the stage dimensions, cues and technical set up in order to best prepare themselves and minimise rehearsal requirements. Read more in our blog post here.
- Communicate Conference COVID-Secure Measures Clearly
Make sure your intentions and procedures are rational, well-balanced and easy to convey, then ensure these are communicated clearly to staff. It would be beneficial to consult with anyone with on-site management responsibilities and the venue staff to check they are confident to uphold and/or execute the requirements. Once these are agreed, make sure the procedures and expectations are also communicated clearly to guests, clients and other stakeholders prior to the event.
- Budget for Additional Hygiene Measures
No doubt hygiene is already at the forefront of your planning, but it would be remiss of us not to mention the obvious; ensure your budget includes capacity for enhanced cleaning and hand washing / sanitisation stations. Make sure you advertise the COVID-Secure measures you have in place to reassure staff and guests; hygiene benefits aside, simple measures such as signed cleaning rotas on washrooms, hand sanitiser readily available and cleaning staff visibly wiping down surfaces during the event will instil confidence in your sense of responsibility and demonstrate that the events industry is committed to reopening safely.