Event Industry unlocks amid strict protocols; hopes for full-scale revival
Event companies have displayed their nimble footedness and agility to adapt to this new work culture, which will ultimately pave the way for others to follow and bring back the missing buzz in the industry.
A few months back, work from home or remote working was hard to imagine when it comes to event industry. Now with over two months into the lockdown, it has become a common practice, and a highly productive one too.
However as the government announced its Unlock 1 policy a few days back, many event companies have reopened workplaces amid a re-imagined office routine.
The new routine comes with its own set of protocols. The best part is that event companies have displayed their nimble footedness and agility to adapt to this new work culture, which will ultimately pave the way for others to follow and bring back the missing buzz in the industry.
We spoke to some leading industry leaders to understand the new work-culture protocols and how they are adjusting to it, and here is what they had to say:
Sanjoy K Roy, MD Teamwork Arts and President EEMA
We have work from home as our stated policy. Our offices are open twice a week for folks to pick up stuff or come together for meetings. We will review the situation weekly and put in place best practices to ensure minimum inconvenience to our colleagues.
Pre COVID it was unthinkable to have been in the city and not having gone to work come hail, rain or sunshine! Office was not only an example of all that we stood for, camaraderie, a family replete with warts, blemishes and those moments of joy and celebration, a place which was home for so many of us and where we met, talked, fought, discussed and created so many of our wonderful festivals.
Events, as we have known them, will not return anytime soon. As we adjust to life with Covid 19 or the next pandemic, we will need to reinvent the space, look to the needs of responsible consumption and innovate. Many companies may not be able to do so. Many folks will realise that the jobs they once held have no place anymore and will need to upskill, look to new horizons and understand the needs of our new world!
Ankur Kalra, CEO, Vibgyor Brand Services
There are several measures that we have taken for re-opening our offices and in order to be safe and compliant during these times. Some of them are:
· Each person coming into our premises is checked by the security at the gate for temperature and goes through a sanitization process.
· We have placed foot-operated hand sanitisers at each floor of our building.
· Deep cleaning of all floors has been done using Ayurvedic, non toxic disinfectants and is repeated each morning.
· Router Cut MDF Keys are made & given to each individual which can be used to switch on lights, open doors, press the coffee / water machine buttons etc.
· Each person entering the reception is asked to use the Disposable Face Masks and latex gloves given to them.
· All workstations have been cleaned and sanitised and we ensure minimum 1 mtr distance in all direction between any two individuals.
· Automated non contact soap dispensers have been installed in toilets.
· 2 Groups of employees have been created and each of them is expected to come in on alternate days so that we have minimum required staff.
· All those who are either in Noida or Gurgaon are still working from home till such time that restrictions are lifted.
· Sanitiser bottles have been kept on all working stations and common areas.
We are encouraging people to come in by ensuring that me along with the management team is here in person each day and attend all our zoom calls from the office only. The only way people will follow suit if they are made to believe that it is safe for the leadership teams to be there and all possible precautions have been taken. We are not imposing on any of the colleagues to come but are creating a safe and comfortable work environment for them to return back whenever possible.
It is different from the Pre-Covid days as the volume of work is much lesser, one has to be very cautious about touching people and things and the general mood and sentiment is very different from earlier. There are a few active briefs but clients are also extremely guarded with the limited resources available to them. We do believe that the activations area will open up much faster than the events space, especially for companies who need to liquidate their stocks accumulated over the lockdown period.
I do believe that it would take many months for the events business to start looking up again, even if there is a vaccine in place and the government restrictions are lifted, clients will want to save every penny they can from their marketing budgets. This financial year is not about earning, it is about surviving and those of us who get past it would reap the benefits of reduced competition in the next one! I do believe that business will be back to normal by Feb – March 21.
Siddhartha Chaturvedi, Founder & CEO, EventCrafter
We have created SOPs for entire office functioning and started our work only after a detailed workshop on the same. We have adequate availability of disinfectants, cold fogging chemicals, hand sanitisers, face masks, hand gloves and other PPE for use in their office. Also, people must wear a face mask at all times while maintaining physical distancing at the same time
We must lead with empathy and compassion. This is a stressful time for everyone, where employees feel unsure about their health, safety and future. When they know you are compassionate, they’ll be more likely to want to return to work. We have kept high touch services clean, while giving all our employees access to protective personal equipment like gloves, masks and hand sanitizers. Despite the circumstances, this is an ideal time for business to take advantage of their ability to change quickly and lead from the front with new working practices
Events are not going anywhere! Though the need of the hour has changed the size of the events to micro. We are ensuring that though the events are going micro in number but we make it macro in experiences. At the same time we are quite hopeful that things will stabilize soon and full scale events and outreach programs will start happening from the coming season.
Chetan Vohra, Managing Director, WeddingLine
Whilst we have opened the office in the last week, there really is no work in the market . We opened with the hope of seeing a revival, but it is early days and with hotels still shut, and cases on the rise, people are not looking at any events at the moment.
We have followed a three step sanitisation process. The first is a periodic deep cleaning of all the offices, the second are thermal checks done before anyone enters the office and the third is social distancing. All staff are being encouraged to work from home - and only those who want to come in are welcome. So far we have had less than 20 percent attendance across the offices, with mainly the warehousing and finance departments working.
The post covid workspace will be very different in my view. These measures are all here to stay and hygiene will rule. Wfh will become the new normal and companies will look at cutting down rents and travel costs.
I don’t see revival in events until November. Adding to COVID is anyways the offseason period we go through each year and that’s when things start to look up for most of us.
Dipti Shah, Founder/Head of Event & Alliances, White Salt Entertainment
We opened our office on Monday with 2 people and currently plan to work from office, thrice a week. We have implemented mandatory self thermal checks, hand sanitisation and provided disposable masks at entry points. Team members have been told to maintain safe distance, disinfect their tables and laptop.In fact we have also placed an electronic smart mobile disinfecting unit so we can disinfect our wallets, keys, phones etc after reaching office.
Mandatory self thermal check hand sanitisation and disposable masks at entry points, team members have been asked to maintain distance, disinfect their tables and laptops with disinfecting chemicals available in the office. In fact we have also placed an electronic smart mobile disinfecting unit so we can disinfect our wallets, keys, phones etc after reaching office.
Post COVID work-place is different, surely! We are in the business of meetings and greetings and as we start work, I can say there is a certain peace and quiet in the premise like never before! You can no longer see people rush in and out the door that once buzzed with movement.
Currently we are focusing on developing and floating wedding/critical event plans and packages. I’d say the first few weeks will pave the way for systematic events - provided sense prevails and everybody practices safe habits. Events can sure get back in full swing sooner than August/September next year if we maintain caution.
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