By Christopher Bo Shields, Co-founder, Totem Hybrid Events
I’d like to introduce you to Hanna.
Hanna is in her early thirties. She works in marketing, and has a senior job with a well-known financial services company. She used to commute to work every day. Her daily life was predictable, and she generally knew where she’d be at any given point of the day.
Things have changed a lot since then. Life is less predictable than it was in the old days. At the moment, Hanna works at home for four days a week, and goes into the office one day. Those days tend to change every week.
She doesn’t know yet if she’s going to start returning to the office more often, or if her employer is going to get rid of the office and go fully virtual.
She often finds places to work in different locations as she juggles work with her family responsibilities. Her spare time has become minimal and unpredictable. Since Covid, she’s not really found a regular rhythm for how each day or week will look, because so many things are still up in the air.
Hanna used to go to a lot of professional events, because she took pride in working on her career and building her contacts. But like most people, that went by the wayside in 2019. Now she’s hopeful that things can get back to normal, and she’s keen to reengage with her peers and invest in herself again.
But she’s worried as well – that her unpredictable schedule will mean she’ll have to drop out at the last minute, or that she won’t get the most out of it, because she’ll be distracted. And will work now allow the travel that’s required for events?
The strange thing about working from home is that it feels like there is a greater expectation for Hanna to be on call, that it’s harder for her to ‘disappear’ for a few hours.
Most of all, what Hanna needs is flexibility from events, to mirror the flexibility of her newfound work life.
Hanna’s experience isn’t unusual. In order to cater for the changing expectations of people like her, the events industry needs to evolve. In fact, it needs to completely change its idea of what an event is. In my next post, I’ll outline how hybrid is here to help people like Hanna to engage with events in as flexible a way as possible.