Recently, in a conversation with Anh Nguyen, Head of Community Engagement at Twine, we explored some very interesting perspectives on changing work culture. The future of work is rapidly evolving with companies opting for a fair mix of in-office, remote, and hybrid work. This, in turn, is impacting event professionals, as their role is now expanding to inject innovative strategies into workforce management. Drawing from her extensive experience, Anh shared some valuable insights on managing this changed organizational dynamic.  

For your quick reference, we have compiled some fascinating insights and information shared by our guest speaker.

The future of work   

  1. The future of work and how we relate to our jobs has really changed since the pandemic began. According to statistics, 91% of employees in the US are working at least some hours from their homes.   
  2. A large number of people in the above percentage are completely working from home and prefer it that way.  
  3. Additionally, 3/10 people have said that they will quit their job if they are not given a hybrid or complete work from home option. Surprisingly, people are also willing to get a pay cut for it.   
  4. Jobs that are listed as remote opportunities see 300 times more applicants than on-site jobs. 

For event professionals, it is important to take note of these changing organizational dynamics, since this is significantly impacting how people meet with one another and how they want to participate in events or meetings. As organizations are undergoing this major transition and are continually moving away from traditional 9 to 5 working hours, it’s important to find different ways of connecting with workforces.   

What's leading to a weaker connection with a remote workforce?  

When it comes to interacting with your co-workers there are two ways to understand the dynamics:   

  1. Strong ties: When remote work started becoming prevalent, teams got distributed. Everyone focused on their own ‘lane’ with tasks they had to accomplish, and interacted only with the people they needed to interact with to get their work done. According to a study, this trend led to stronger ties with immediate functional teams as you are continuously participating in meetings with them. 
  2. Weak ties: The ties with people who don’t work with you every day but still are a part of your work community have considerably weakened. While in office you might run into them in the hallway or wave at each other as you pass by during breaks, the remote culture has snatched away these opportunities of connecting with your wider work circle and possibly hindering the creation of new relationships.   

Event professional can fill this gap by helping organizations create stronger work ties in remote and hybrid work cultures. All this will, in turn, foster the sense of belonging to a community at work. We can utilize technology to re-create closer ties among people since these are the connections that make work a lot fun.  

Experimenting with new strategies  

Owing to the changed work culture, the current focus in HR departments is also shifting   

  1. HR departments are now hiring for roles exclusive to remote employee management with entire focus on how remote teams work, how to support them better, and how to ensure they are progressing.   
  2. New roles like Employee Experience Directors are being introduced to help companies design employee experiences that encourage stronger connections at work. 

More and more organizations are also investing in hiring event professionals to address the lack of connections in the workforce and churn out creative solutions to fill the gap.    

Eventifying organizational activities – how does it work?  

An event can connect a remote team in amazing ways and organizations are using this very concept to bring their workforce together.   

Pre-pandemic, new employees had the opportunity to walk around the office, absorb the culture, and learn organizational values. They got to interact with their colleagues, beyond their immediate functional team, during lunch or coffee breaks.  

But in a remote set up, how does one take a new joiner through a series of content, culture, or experiences that define the organization? Here comes the concept of eventifying things. A series of activities are strategically planned out for the new entrant that specifically take care of how their first day looks, who they are interacting with, and some specially designed games or activities that can help them connect with the team and learn about organizational values and processes. All this can be smoothly carried out remotely, by means of interactive virtual events.  

How do CEOs and COOs support remote work culture and adoption of new principles and practices?  

CEOs and COOs, in general, can support their teams by creating spaces for them to build connections. Employees need to feel they belong to a community and it is a leader’s responsibility to make way for it, whether it’s on-site or remote.  

However, post pandemic, organizations need to be more intentional. Creating opportunities for people to reach out to members that aren’t part of their immediate team or building connections with people who belong to different teams is crucial. As a leader, it is wise to invest in tools and technologies that can help engage employees, beyond work, in a more efficient manner.   

Realizing the value of hybrid and streamlining efforts  

Hybrid is all about delivering content through multiple mediums and then potentially connecting them at a given time. Some hybrid events are also distributed in nature, for example, a large virtual event can be organized for remote participants and a few weeks apart a smaller in-person event for the targeted group can be organized separately. The content for both the events may slightly vary.   

Pro tip: Leverage technology for continuous delivery of content. Regularly conducting smaller programs that target and appeal to different audience sets can be immensely helpful.   

Predicting the future of the event industry  

Currently, we are witnessing a huge surge of in-person events, along with the return of those that were cancelled in 2020 and 2021. Also, the event industry is now equipped with a lot of technological innovations to support better virtual event experiences. Hybrid events have empowered us to connect with people, regardless of where they are and if they can travel or not, and this trend is expected to gain further popularity. Additionally, the metaverse and crypto will also have a huge impact on how we interact and build connections in digital spaces.