Is Hybrid Here to Stay?
Flexible working is a permanent option for many industries, even when we reach post-pandemic life, but are hybrid events here to stay?
The temperamental nature of COVID-19 resulted in the temporary pause on face-to-face meetings and events, which led to a corresponding boom in hybrid functions and meetings. But with Zoom fatigue setting in, more employees working from home and people yearning for travel, an old-fashioned face-to-face getaway conference is not so antiquated.
Ante Kovac, General Manager – Gaming at Club Central is fearful that the Global Gaming Expo, traditionally held annually in Las Vegas has become increasingly hybrid, which might hurt his chances of being able to attend in person. The hybrid delivery of said events have potential to become complex.
Trying to host a fully planned in-person and virtual event at the same time could become complicated. When preparing a hybrid event, most people believe they must deliver two identical events virtually and in person at the same time.
However, hybrid events can take many forms. It could simply be a live stream with a few other engagement features, or it could offer exhibitors the opportunity to have a booth on both the live and virtual trade show floors Most of the time, hosting a live event followed by an online portion after the live event has concluded is ideal.
When it comes to event planning, thinking strategically will help you understand how large your event plan needs to be, but there are many factors to consider.
“I have been looking forward to attending the expo my whole career and the opportunity finally came up in 2020, only to see the expo cancelled because of COVID.
“The expo was held mostly online in 2021, and if I can attend webinars and virtual expo stalls from right here in Australia, I am not sure my workplace will want to send me across the world for a week in Vegas. Without the chance to experience the event in person, it is just not the same.”
Hybrid events have some definite advantages, such as increasing your potential audience capacity, reach of location and future-proofing your function against cancellation due to future threats of the virus. But the argument remains, is that what your audience wants?
Although many people consider hybrid working to be the best of both worlds, there are some drawbacks to consider if you want your business to thrive and flourish.
Pros of Hybrid Working
- Better work-life balance
A mixed working policy can help to improve the balance of work and life. It not only gives people more control over their schedule, but it can also save time (and money) for those who used to commute five days a week. This can become even more of a problem if an employee’s situation changes, such as when they establish a family. Flexible working hours to accommodate childcare arrangements may become necessary, or your staff will relocate elsewhere.
- Productivity has increased.
By eliminating the distractions of in-person water cooler talks and back-to-back meetings, some people can increase their attention on the subject at hand and (often considerably) raise their productivity.
- The potential to collaborate
If employees worked remotely 100% of the time, the lack of face-to-face engagement can limit critical opportunities to collaborate and establish meaningful work relationships with colleagues – something that hybrid working allows.
- Greater staff retention and accessibility to a larger pool of talent
Flexible and hybrid working is now considered highly recommended benefit for many employees, and it can help firms boost employee retention. It also broadens the skill pool by recruiting candidates from further away.
Cons of Hybrid Working
- Some may feel isolated
Working alone for a significant portion of the week might cause some people to feel alienated and closed off from their coworkers. This raises concerns about how to better help employees’ mental health and well-being from afar. Surprisingly, while older people are more likely to desire to work from home full-time, 16-24-year-olds prefer working in an office full-time. This implies that whichever hybrid model you choose must be adaptable to your employee demographics.
- Managing staffs can be difficult.
Managing employees who aren’t always in the office can be more challenging, especially when it comes to mentorship, training, and advancement.
- Increased IT security is required.
With workers working remotely, the IT department must manage various personal devices connecting from various locations in order to ensure that no one is technologically impaired, and that the company’s data is extremely secure. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, cybercrime has skyrocketed. Money-motivated cybercriminals may target your company’s data, notably private financial information and consumer information, so data protection must be addressed.
Another industry that has suffered from the growth of hybrid events is tourism. Fewer hotel rooms nights, restaurant bookings and beers at the bar are required when half of the audience is online. Although times have changed post-pandemic and hybrid events offer a great solution to events, the question remains whether it will ever replace the valuable business relationships and increased employee effectiveness and morale that result from a face-to-face conference.