During the height of the covid-19 pandemic, virtual meetings played a key role in keeping businesses running. Since face-to-face meetings were banned, this was the next best thing, and for a few months it seemed like nobody would ever want to go back to meeting in person.
But after the novelty of virtual meetings wore off, and “Zoom fatigue” kicked in, most people were longing for a time when traditional meetings would come back.
Now that in-person meetings are slowly starting to be an option again, it is important to take some steps to ensure that you feel safe at each meeting. And if you are the host, it is important that you keep your attendee’s peace of mind and safety at the top of your list of things to plan for.
Here are a few ways you can feel safe returning to in-person meetings:
Follow CDC and State Health Department Recommendations
Since you have probably been following official guidelines for almost a year now, you know how this goes, but a quick reminder never hurts. Whenever you attend an in-person meeting, make sure to wear a mask, stay 6 feet away from others, wash your hands often, carry a bottle of hand sanitizer around, monitor your health daily, etc. If you are organizing a meeting, it helps to post these guidelines somewhere visible, so attendees are confident that you are taking the necessary steps to keep them safe.
Keep PPE easily accessible
If you are organizing an in-person meeting, make sure to give everybody easy access to PPE such as facemasks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. A fantastic idea is to prepare individual personal protection kits that include all the required supplies. This will help people avoid crowds and stay safe during the meeting.
Covid safety is a conversation that needs to happen before any meeting takes place. Everybody should be clear about what your covid policy will be way in advance of the day of the meeting. This conversation should include things like whether or not masks will be mandatory for everybody at all times (they should be), will you ask people to get tested before the meeting, will you have some form of contact tracing, among other information you might require from every attendee to ensure that you are managing the risk of transmitting the virus as well as you can.
Use many types of spaces
Not everybody will feel comfortable going back to a closed meeting room, so the best way to accommodate most people is to provide them the option of choosing the setting they are most comfortable with. Some would feel better if the meeting was broadcasted to an open space such as a foyer, others would prefer to have access to the meeting while outdoors, and many others will not be comfortable meeting in person yet and would prefer to be able to attend the meeting virtually from their home office.
Attending in-person meetings might still be an intimidating prospect for many people, but it is also true that there are many ways of staying safe while taking advantage of the many benefits that meeting face-to-face has. So, keep these pointers in mind for your next in-person meeting and you will definitely feel a lot safer.