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Events and Meetings during Alert Level 2 – HRNZ Research

A recent HRNZ survey researched Members’ opinions about hosting and attending meetings during events at Alert Level 2.

Alert Level 2 allows more people to return to work, provided we can maintain physical distancing and safe hygiene practices. With this comes the possibility of events restarting, subject to maximum numbers.

Findings suggest that most organisations will continue to take a cautious approach, something that we have seen reflected in our previous surveys. Key findings included;

  • The majority of respondents indicated they will seek assurances that public health guidelines are being adhered to before allowing employees to attend external meetings.
  • Over 40% of respondents will only allow people to attend external meetings and events for essential purposes.
  • 25% of respondents indicated that they will avoid physical internal meetings and events, in favour of online meetings. 
  • 10% of respondents will not allow people to attend external meetings and events for now.
  • Online meetings remain the preferred option for internal meetings.

Respondents differentiated between meetings and events, stating that events largely remain off limits, but meetings will be held.

Most respondents indicated they will allow internal meetings but with restrictions in place to reflect Alert Level 2 guidelines. Respondents indicated that provided public health guidelines are met attendance at external meetings or events will be permitted. In this context appropriate might mean matching your own internal policies for meetings.

At Alert Level 2, over 40% of our respondents are only allowing people to attend external meetings and events for essential purposes. In terms of attendance at external meeting and events only 10% of our respondents are not allowing this at all. 

25% of our respondents indicate that they will avoid physical internal meetings and events for the time being and continue to favour the use of online meeting options.  This may reflect the fact that many employers have opted to keep employees working from home where possible.

As with internal meetings, the use of online meeting options is expected to be favoured when looking at external meetings and events.

Hand-washing practices before and after meetings will be the norm with all surfaces also being cleaned before meetings start.  Some respondents have indicated that masks and gloves will also be made available to meeting attendees. It seems too that shared kai is off the menu for some for the time being.

In terms of restrictions that will be in place for meetings, more than 85% indicated that physical distancing procedures will apply.  For some this means not using smaller meeting spaces and instead using only larger meeting rooms with fewer attendees. 

Most respondents indicated that meeting sizes would be restricted to 10 or less people.  Restrictions mentioned go as low as three people.  Even where physical meetings are being held the option to join by Zoom or similar technology is still being encouraged.  Despite keeping meeting sizes low, 65% of respondents said they would be maintaining a register of attendance for meetings.

Somewhat surprisingly, a small number of our respondents indicated that organisational policies on meetings and events had yet to be decided.

It seems clear that we are about to see the emergence of a more hybrid approach to meetings in which we incorporate both physical and online attendance.  The more widespread use of such an approach will hopefully lead to the development of a greater capability within organisations to hold meetings that are engaging and inclusive regardless of which channel is chosen to participate.

For now, organisations looking to attract people to their external events will need to ensure their health and safety protocols line up with public health guidelines and will be well-advised to offer online attendance options.