Since the publication of this blog post, we have reopened Friends House
Good news! The Government has allowed conference and event venues to reopen for meetings up to 30 delegates. This is providing venues have strict guidelines in place to ensure the safety of delegates and the cleanliness of their premises. We want to reassure you that we tick all the COVID-19 safety boxes. We have compiled all our new guidelines and practices in our COVID-19 resource centre. We will reopen Friends House from September 1st and we cannot wait to welcome you back for all your small meetings and events. If you have a meeting already booked in September our team will be in touch soon to help you plan.
We know this has been a long time since you last held or attended a meeting, so we wanted to give you a few more reasons to come back to us. Here are some of the benefits of face to face meetings. Spoiler: there are many!
With the pandemic, many of us, including our organisation, had to adapt to new ways of meeting. Zoom or Skype meetings became the new normal. Sure, they were very convenient and useful but we all missed human interactions. It is not the same to see your colleagues on your laptop screen rather than being able to talk to them face to face, without any interruptions. We have all experienced the failing Wi-Fi connexions, the mute-unmute issues, or worse, the never-ending echoes. What is really missing is the warmth and the joy of seeing each other IRL – in real life. This is why organising face to face meetings is so important. After such a long time, people are looking forward to seeing each other, get that warmth again, and be in the same room (at a safe distance of course!).
What we thought was a temporary arrangement turned into a very long period of home working. Many people enjoy working from home but for some, it can sometimes feel really lonely and monotonous. Adapting to new ways of working is challenging. So, how do we break the monotony? Asking people to leave their house for a safe face to face meeting once in a while seems like a good option. We, the team at Friends House, always find it easier and more engaging to catch up face to face and have been traveling to Friends House in recent weeks. The conversation is flowing and we feel energised for another week of work.
When it comes to engagement, face to face meetings are the best. It is much easier to interact with a lecturer or trainer when everybody is in the same room. Moreover, they can in turn see the reaction of the audience or interpret better their questions, body language, or tone of voice. This is crucial to good communications. Who has never misinterpreted the tone of voice in a text message or an email before? Another issue virtual meetings raise is the tiredness they create. The media have even coined a term for it: “Zoom fatigue”. It is much more tiring to look at a screen for hours and know that you are being watched by multiple pairs of eyes. That does not happen in the normal setting of a meeting. That point is raised by Marissa Shuffler, an associate professor at Clemson University, in a BBC article: “When you’re on a video conference, you know everybody’s looking at you; you are on stage, so there comes the social pressure and feeling like you need to perform. Being performative is nerve-wracking and more stressful.”
We understand that for some people travelling into the city or just taking public transports is still daunting. With the social distancing rules in place, it is most likely than not that delegates will have to sit in several break out rooms. They will still be physically attending the same meeting but the event will be streamed in different rooms. That is what we call hybrid events. And the good news is, they also allow for people who cannot or do not want to travel, to attend the meeting too. Hybrid events are available at Friends House, contact our Events team to find out more: 020 7663 1100 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the perfect compromise for a gradual return to events, as we have always known them.
Did we convince you? Get in touch today or enquire now.
We are looking forward to seeing you again in our venue. Let’s ‘meet together, apart, safely’.