Housekeeping tasks during downtime

Finding a fresh routine to maximise time at home

A perfect time to review one's online presence and marketing collateral.

AUSTRALIA - For events professionals, working from home is the new normal and many across the country are now looking to find a fresh routine.

Ms Lara Burnes, GM, Premier Events & Experiences, Melbourne & Olympic Parks, is no stranger to the events space. With over a decade of experience, she is heading-up the precinct's newest venue, CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park.

She shared her thoughts on being proactive to build personal skills, improve work processes and boost team morale during this time.

1. Level up: Upskill during downtime.
With the events industry currently taking an extended siesta, event professionals are experiencing reduced hours and changes to their work environment. Undoubtedly, the current climate is proving difficult, but there are still ways to maximise this newly available time.

This could include filling-in any gaps in skills for your existing role, developing new work-related skills and engaging in a passion project that could help elevate your business.

Lara Burnes, GM, Premier Events & Experiences, Melbourne & Olympic Parks: take time to review your workplace's current processes. Credit: Melbourne & Olympic Parks

2.  Review and revamp processes
Take the time to review your workplace's current processes, so that when you do go back into work (physically), you are as prepared as possible to tackle what is ahead.

Begin by mind-mapping each task procedure based on what works, what is not, and what can be built-on or improved upon. For my team, we are using this time to review our databases, update sales CRM activities and improve our system processes.

We are also looking at how we can revamp meeting procedures to apply them to virtual meetings, as individual ideas can often be missed without a structured format. To improve this, we have developed a framework for our Zoom and Google Hangout brainstorm sessions. We set up by having one staff member lead as the organiser to guide the virtual meeting and discussion, allowing us to creatively ideate in an orderly manner.

3. Update marketing collateral and social content
Now is a perfect time to review your online presence and marketing collateral. For my team, we are looking at updating our website copy, reviewing and updating our Search Engine Optimisation and revamping our e-newsletters for a more engaging customer experience. Whether it is online content, staff biographies or business cards, spend time reviewing and looking at how you can update and improve areas that you might not get to tackle in your usual day-to-day.

Now is also prime time to update your social media pages and to get creative. Spend time looking at your industry counterparts and what they are doing well, analyse the trends of today, and explore new ways to boost your page engagement. Whether this is done sitting on the couch or watching Netflix, immerse yourself in social media to get inspired!

4. Research and innovate
There are so many available source providers that can open windows of opportunity to learn about new ideas, projects and production techniques.

Whether it is learnings from a key opinion leader or innovations inside or outside your industry, consider how you can incorporate these ideas into your events, venues, businesses or products.

Particularly now, it is really interesting to see so many brands launch innovative products to adapt and support the local market. A couple of good examples that come to mind are Melbourne-based florists Flowers Vasette, and Victoria Whitelaw Florists, once strictly specialising in flowers, they are now extending their services to create flower deliveries with fresh produce - dropped off at your doorstep, including make your own soup boxes and boxes with Easter goodies. This is the time to start thinking differently and innovating.

When we come out the other end of all this, so many industries will be congested and you will need something new that sets your business apart from the rest.

5. Check in on your team - and industry partners
Physical and social distancing does not have to mean complete isolation. Check in on your team regularly - whether professionally or personally. This could include a direct team member, industry colleague or event partner. Remember that this is a unique and challenging time for most, especially those in the events and hospitality industry.

Stay connected by arranging regular team catch-ups via video calls, put a call in to a supplier or arrange an open chat forum via Zoom for your industry colleagues to drop in to say 'Hi'. Also, keep close to events industry professionals for advice and updates, such as your CVB.

On a deeper level, checking in with your team is also important for mental health - make sure there are resources available. Subscriptions to mindful apps like Headspace or Breethe will assist you in learning how to take a moment for yourself and separate your work from personal life, when your home is now the location for both.