The Telework Genie is Free. Now What?

In regards to remote working, the general consensus seems to be, "you can't put the genie back in the bottle."

A good portion of the government workforce has been working from home for the past year, and the world has continued turning. In fact, some agencies report productivity is up since teleworking became the norm. While people will return to the office, it will look different with many alternating office days with days they work from home. The past year has shown us that working arrangements do not necessarily need to be confined to an office. And, when we also remove the stress of students learning from home, caring for homebound elderly parents, and a pandemic in general, employees may realize a new level of balance and job satisfaction.

To support the continued success of remote work, agencies need to shore up the IT that was put in place to simply keep the trains running on time. Some technology was implemented quickly to meet the immediate need, and now is the time to take a hard look at all of those solutions to see if they will scale to meet the long-term reality of a dispersed workforce.

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Online or In-Person: It’s Not a Zero Sum Game

Streaming video and high availability of video collaboration applications have made virtual meetings and events more viable and desirable. This does not mean the demise of in-person events and meetings; on the contrary, it signals a human desire to see and interact with one another.

As we've written in a number of posts here, attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors no longer want to be passive participants in an event. Sitting back and just listening and taking notes is not enough. A logo on a sign is not enough. Booth space is not enough. All participants are looking for interaction and engagement with each other and with the event as a whole. While online interactions are convenient, the connection made online translates into a desire for in-person interaction. A study from Digitell found that "up to 30% of people attending a live streamed event have attended the live physical event the following year."[Tweet "It's Not a Zero Sum Game. The balance between online and in-person events. #GovEventsBlog"] Continue reading

Gaining Time With Virtual Meetings

Earlier this year we wrote about the decision making involved in deciding to plan and carry out a virtual event.  Beyond large events and conferences, a virtual environment can be effective for training and group brainstorming. In fact, sometimes a virtual meeting can be more effective than an in-person one. In this blog post from HP, they show that a 20 person brainstorming kick-off meeting was successfully completed in just 40 minutes as opposed to what traditionally would have been a half day event. By allowing participants to type in their ideas to a virtual whiteboard, all participants could concurrently see ideas and begin expanding on them.

This success in efficiency is not guaranteed; there is a lot of planning that goes into setting up a virtual meeting for success. Continue reading

Tips for Creating the Perfect Hybrid Event

We wrote recently about the power face-to-face events have on networking and learning. But as we know, budgets and time are tight, and getting everyone in the same place at the same time is not always possible. Rather than losing the in-person benefits all together and moving online, many organizations are looking for ways to hold hybrid events - real-time events that are also available to an online audience. Creating an event that is meaningful and fulfilling for people attending in-person and virtually can be tricky, but with some strategic planning it can be done.[Tweet "Creating an event for attendees in-person and virtually can be tricky. #GovEventsBlog"]

Here are some tips for creating a hybrid event that benefits all attendees. Continue reading

Make Your Case – 5 Reasons to Implement a Virtual Conference

By Lance A. Simon, CGMP, CVEP

So -- you want to implement your first virtual conference! Any good conference starts with a good proposal. Let's take a closer look at the key elements that can help sell your virtual conference project. Think it's just about cost savings? Think again. Here are 5 top benefits you want to highlight.

1) Implement significant cost savings.

A virtual conference eliminates many physical conference costs - travel (of course!) but also conference rooms, advanced materials, on-site support, meeting materials & printing costs, and on-site A/V services. I recently worked with a CDC meeting planner to compare the costs of a basic 3-day physical conference with a comparable virtual conference. We compared 2 sizes - 350 and 1,000 attendees. Costs excepting travel were approximately the same for a 350 person meeting. But the virtual conference scales up with much less cost per incremental attendee --virtual conference costs were 20% lower than a physical meeting, or a whopping 75% lower if travel is included!

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