Planning a successful employee event any year is difficult. Throw in a worldwide pandemic, and every event planner has their work cut out for them. The year 2021 will be new territory for all of us. We’re still navigating life amidst a pandemic, but we’re learning that we do need some normalcy in our world.
For many companies, that may come in the form of an employee event. Getting together—if you can do so safely—can boost morale after such a tough year. It can help prevent isolation and encourage engagement after so much time spent working remotely. Take a look at some of our favorite tips for planning a successful employee event in 2021.
Pick a Theme or Activity Your Employees Enjoy
Don’t just tell your employees that you’re having an event; let them get involved with the planning. It can help boost morale. Hold a fun Zoom meeting just to brainstorm and toss around ideas. If you can’t come up with something collectively, pick the favorite themes and ideas, and let everyone vote. Smaller events will be a major trend for 2021, but so will personalization. Make your event a place where your employees feel welcome and comfortable.
Stay Closer to Home
For many companies, employee events come in the form of Caribbean cruises and other exotic destinations. Travel may be inexpensive right now, but not everyone is comfortable hopping on a plane or cruise ship just yet. You can still do weekend getaways, but keep them closer to home. Choose a destination where you can spend plenty of time outdoors, like a state or national park or a local beach. Depending on your budget, another option is to rent out a private resort, island, or other venues for the weekend. This way, your employees can get tested before they come, and they won’t have to mix and mingle with people they don’t know. It doesn’t guarantee health, but it can offer some reassurance and encourage those who’ve been working from home to collaborate once again.
Don’t Discount Hybrid Events
In 2020, almost everything that involved meeting with coworkers went virtual. You may have even held a virtual employee event. As we ease into doing things in person again, you’ll find that not everyone is ready to attend. They may have underlying conditions or have family members who do. For this reason, plan a hybrid event that includes both in-person attendance and virtual attendance. Many event planners say this is the way of the future—not only does it allow everyone to participate at the level they feel comfortable, but it can keep you from hosting an overcrowded event. Beyond the pandemic, you may find it has long-term appeal to some of the introverts in your office.
Meet Your Guests at the Door
You’ll want to greet your employees and their guests at the door but not to see if their names are on the guestlist. Instead, you’ll want to continue to implement health screenings. This means assigning someone to take temperatures and ask about symptoms like cough and fatigue. You’ll also want to offer masks, hand sanitizer, and anything else you can to make everyone feel safe inside the event.
Consider a Way to Give Back to the Community
We can’t say it enough: 2020 was a year we won’t soon forget. While it was awful for many people, we also saw so many heroes arise from fear and anger and take care of those in need. Doctors, nurses, first responders, truck drivers, grocery store workers, delivery people—they all inspired us to give back to our communities. And after a year of death, financial strain, sickness, and political unrest, we all need to find a way to heal. Trading in your elaborate party for a way to give back to the community will go a long way in helping your employees feel good about themselves. It can be something fun like having a casino night to raise money for a favorite charity or hands-on like spending a day at the park walking dogs from the local animal shelter.
Cleanliness Should Remain a Top Priority
We’ve all learned the importance of sanitizing and disinfecting this year, and that will carry on into 2021. Whatever type of event you choose, you’ll need to go the extra mile to make sure the venue is clean and high-touch surfaces are disinfected regularly. Skip the buffets and serve sit-down meals. Space chairs and tables so that everyone continues to socially distance. Use as many single-use food items as you can, and place hand sanitizer on every surface. Showing that you’re making cleanliness a top priority will reassure employees who aren’t sure about being at an event.
Hire CORT Events for Your Event Planning Needs
You can also take much of the guesswork out of planning your event by hiring CORT to handle it for you. You provide us with your ideas and inspiration, and we’ll handle the execution, from providing the furniture and decor to creating a layout that is fun, safe, and represents your employees to the fullest. Visit the CORT Events website today to learn more about our event rentals and services.