Post-Covid planning should not be short-sighted. Design now for immediate reassurance and future-proofed event success
As the event industry emerges from lockdown the focus right now is on providing safe and hygienic spaces for exhibitors and attendees. We are seeing clever solutions which make use of screens, partitions, air-filtration, anti-microbial materials and more – solutions geared to deliver immediate peace-of-mind. As a leading supplier to the event industry, furniture-design specialist Nook has flexed its own solution range to provide extra reassurance in these uncertain times.
It’s a strategy that’s working. Nook has been added to the post-Covid portfolios of FIRA Barcelona, RAI Amsterdam, Frankfurt Messe, and Business Design Centre London among others.
Nook Event Pods were also front and centre at one of the world’s first post-Covid events – the Together Again Expo held recently in Orlando – an event designed to showcase what a post-Covid world might look like for the industry.
Nook, which is also a certified autism resource, was originally conceived with neurodiverse and introverted individuals in mind, providing comfortable, acoustically quiet spaces from which to work, relax or socialise. While the post-Covid event world must obviously address safety and hygiene it should also be about mental health, inclusivity and making spaces welcoming for all.
Busy events can be particularly disruptive for individuals who are neurodiverse. Whilst there has been some progress from organisers in terms of providing a comfortable event experience for the physically disabled, only now are decision-makers beginning to appreciate the value of including neurodiversity in their strategies. In planning for a post-Covid world, organisers have the perfect opportunity to also deliver a better long-term vision.
The inclusion of quiet spaces which are semi-private without being isolated should be an essential element of any event for companies looking to truly embrace inclusivity. Soundproofed, restful seating areas provide a haven of calm and wellbeing – a place to relax and recharge. Such facilities help a person to re-energise, to prevent a neuro-event from occurring or to recover quicker should one occur. This makes good business sense too of course – the more productive a person can be, the more they will engage and get out of an event. This is as true for exhibitors as it is for attendees.
Such seating areas also address another challenge. Quite often, finding a quiet place to sit-down and conduct business conversations is difficult – stand space is often not private or discrete enough. Quiet, comfortable seating spaces double-up as meeting rooms – semi-private areas that enable progressive business discussions. What’s more – the fact that Nooks can be on lockable wheels, and can be manoeuvred anywhere on the site, gives organisers total freedom to flex to different circumstances.
This element of flexibility is key. We will see it more and more at events, with huddle-pods on wheels being transported to areas where they are most in demand. One moment, the space may be used for eating and coffee-breaks, the next it may serve as seating for guests, or quiet study space. Spaces can adapt to the time of day or the volume of visitors.
Yes, there is an immediate health and hygiene challenge to hand, but businesses are also determined to emerge from the pandemic as better corporate citizens. Where event inclusivity is concerned, this need not result in an expensive overhaul of strategy and design. By adding the mobility and flexibility of Nook Event Pods, organisers can develop space that is welcoming and supportive for all. After a difficult period, becoming more inclusive would be a great legacy to establish.