Live events are back, but virtual events, like remote workers, are here to stay.
Ah, 2020. A year of WFH, funny filters, embarrassing pants-less Zoom reveals, and full-on cabin fever. Companies found ways to keep workers productive, but without in-person meetings or water-cooler convos, employees were finding it hard to feel connected to their co-workers and their clients.
Corporate event companies quickly got creative with virtual versions of popular live events – remote escape rooms, scavenger hunts, cooking and mixology – while improvising events that are perfectly suited to the screen, like virtual gameshows and celebrity Q&A.
“We basically gave ourselves a crash course in video production,” says Jared Young, CEO of Go Team Events, a global corporate event company based in Los Angeles. “Every event gave us an opportunity to learn and improve. We strive to be leaders and innovators in the virtual arena, and I think we’ve accomplished that.”
As workers get vaccinated and the usual social hotspots (bars, coffee shops, banquet halls) cautiously reopen, some employees will go back to the office and business as usual. But many others will not. According to a survey from U.S.-based Enterprise Technology Research, the percentage of workers around the world that are permanently working from home is expected to double in 2021.
Because of this trend, virtual connections are more important than ever. With so many employees interacting almost exclusively via email, it’s nearly impossible for employers to know how engaged their workers are. Virtual events give employers the opportunity to identify potential leaders by observing their level of participation and enthusiasm, and they give remote workers the chance to be seen and prove themselves worthy candidates for new opportunities.
So pull up a chair, put on your best Zoom top and get comfortable. Here are 5 virtual events that will make you and/or your employer look good.
Zoom (and similar platforms) lend themselves quite nicely to celebrity appearances, and it’s an especially VIP experience to be part of a private audience. Employees (and their families, if appropriate) can enjoy an exclusive performance followed by a Q&A, facilitated by a moderator/event host.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY EVENTS (CSR)
Want to up the feel-good factor at your next virtual event while doing good at the same time? CSR is the perfect way to get co-workers to engage with each other and the world at large. Create dog and cat toys out of up-cycled t-shirts, fill backpacks with essentials to give foster kids a head start in their new homes, or stuff a stocking this holiday season for a deserving soldier serving overseas. Whichever charity you choose, your event can make a lasting impression on your participants and help create a “pay it forward” culture within your company.
Did someone say happy hour? Participants receive a box (exciting!) with everything they need to mix, taste, cook and/or decorate delicious food and drinks. Depending on the size of your group, you’ll be guided by an expert bartender or chef, then head to break-out rooms to share your creations with your coworkers. Cheers!
With a little bit of tweaking, game shows lend themselves very easily to the virtual world. Team up for trivia contests, corporate Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune and more – or test your world geography knowledge against your coworker in Prague. This is a great option for interdepartmental bonding and problem-solving – can Jim in sales be an asset to Phyllis in accounting? Play together and find out.
All the fun and challenge of a traditional in-person Escape Room -- solving clues, decoding ciphers, etc. -- transitioned into the virtual world. Look for a provider who will work with your preferred platform (Zoom, Webex, Teams, Ring Central) and has a wide array of puzzles and challenges to suit a variety of skill levels.