The Slow Return to the Office vs the Fast Return to Events
By Jim Lundy
The slow return to the office vs the fast return to events
More enterprises are talking about the return to work – in fact, many enterprises are now mandating it in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street.
However, the return to conferences and events appears to be happening much faster and with more enthusiasm than going back to the office. This blog discusses the return to the office and what it means for your enterprise.
What is the current situation on the return to the office
The current situation is that more enterprises are asking their teams to return to the office.
One key point to highlight: Enterprise leaders are letting the decisions be decentralized. For instance, today on CNBC, Chuck Robbins discussed that they are letting managers work with their teams to decide on the best approach, which is generally hybrid.
The general consensus is three days a week but often that has met with resistance at a number of firms including Google. Google started with a 3 day a week approach in April. Apple has pushed their 3 day a week program back to September 5th.
Statistics show that about half of the US has returned to the office but New York and the Bay Area have lagged. At Aragon Research, I have been at the office the entire time but most of our staff is hybrid. The office is voluntary. In fact, we got a larger office to give people more space.
The return To conferencing is happening fast
On the other hand, the return to the conference or event is starting to pick up pace.
We noticed that Las Vegas started having conferences as early as January this year with the return of the Computer Electronics Show (CES). Since then, many firms have had conferences in Vegas and Orlando and seen solid turnouts.
That success has led to more interest and more smaller marketing events – and now for the fall even more events. Salesforce’s famed Dreamforce #DF22 is now planned for September and a large turnout is expected.
Virtual events – not as popular and attendee fatigue
The return to the in-person conference business has also had an impact on the virtual event space. Firms like Hopin – which were thriving in 2021 – have now had to cut staff.
Part of the reason for this is that many people have told us they have event fatigue and don’t really want to attend a virtual conference. That’s also one of the reasons there is so much enthusiasm when there’s an opportunity with 10 and in person conferences.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that the return to the office has been slower than the return to conferences and events.
We expect to see more conferences in late 2022 going into 2023 as large event towns such as Las Vegas and Orlando have demonstrated the ability to execute a conference without an impact on the attendees.
In the long term, Aragon expects most firms to have people back in the office which represents a similar trend and what is happening with conferences.
This was the fourth blog in the Digital Workplace blog series by Aragon Research’s CEO, Jim Lundy.
Stay tuned! We publish a new blog every Thursday.
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