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A survey of business leaders reveals that 68 percent will continue to hold company-wide meetings, annual general meetings and conferences virtually moving forward.

According to the Office for National Statistics, as of April 2020, 47 percent of people were working from home, mostly as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Before 2020, many workplaces didn’t allow working from home or even flexible hours, but COVID-19 has forced bosses to reassess their processes.

A survey of 100 business leaders by speakers bureau VBQ Speakers has revealed that 68 percent will continue to hold company-wide meetings, annual general meetings and conferences virtually moving forward.

69 percent claim that virtual conferences are as productive as live ones, with 62 percent believing that audiences are equally as engaged this way. Costings and convenience are also factors, with 49 percent agreeing it is cheaper than hiring a venue, and 53 percent saying it means they don’t have to worry about finding a space big enough for large numbers of people.

Only 24 percent believed that virtual conferences aren’t as effective as live ones, though they agreed that holding a virtual event is better than no event at all.

The research also uncovered how much business leaders  value company-wide meetings, annual general meetings and conferences as part of their communication strategies. 70 percent said they are an essential way of relaying mass amounts of information to a large number of employees, and 56 percent said they help build company morale. Only 11 percent said they are not essential.

VBQ Speakers Founder & Director, Leo von Bülow-Quirk, said: “The survey shows that events will continue to be a central pillar of companies’ communication strategies despite the pandemic.

“But it also suggests that the recent move to virtual formats will have a lasting impact and that the use of online platforms will continue even after lockdowns end. While I think it is highly likely live events will return, the research indicates we may be seeing the start of a new normal in the industry, with virtual events replacing some live ones, and most having at least a virtual element.”

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