The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, July 27, 2020 that effective immediately, all Google employees will continue to work from home through June 2021. Jack Dorsey, Google CEO also mentioned that he is open to the idea of employees working from home (in his words) "forever".
The events industry is already in chaos over the incredible losses related to the hospitality, travel and meeting industries with losses well over $396 billion in direct spending, $130 billion in tax revenues and $1.1 trillion (yes trillion) in gross production spending nationwide. With the recent news from Google, it begs the basic questions regarding events, trade shows and international gatherings nationwide.....
Can virtual events sustain the industry and replace live events? Generally speaking, the answer is no. Large events and face-to-face marketing are a critical component for new product releases, sales growth and partner marketing/development. Virtual events are the "new normal" as the alternatives are limited and few. In the long run, live marketing will need to return with several new safety standards and guidance from the WHO, CDC and local governments.
Who can or will travel to events? As Google is a national leader and trend setter, the news from Monday is particularly disturbing for face-to-face events. With upheld travel bans internationally and national travel bans requiring quarantine standards by state, we cannot reply on attendees offering to show up to events around the country. Show associations are scrambling to find the answer, but there seems to be more questions than answers every day. How many companies will sponsor travel for sales, decision makers, c-suite executives and more given the current crisis? How can companies guarantee travel safety for employees? Currently, they cannot and this is why companies like Google are driving these new standards for employee welfare.
Will a vaccine solve the problem? Several companies are racing to produce a vaccine that can be distributed world wide. We are closer to a vaccine today than in past months, but the reality is that we are creating new behaviors in the workplace that will likely not change following the introduction of a vaccine in the immediate future. Many other companies like Cisco Systems, Siemens Facebook and more already have work at home programs that will likely be enforced far into the future. We are likely seeing a completely new way to actively participate in the corporate world.
Google’s plan will have a significant impact on the corporate world as we know it in 2020. It's easy to see that many companies will follow along and adopt new polices for their work forces and revise their travel policies.
In addition to the work from home policies, CNN announced this week in an article that the international airline industry will likely not recover until 2024. Read that article here - https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/air-travel-recovery-2024/index.html
On a brighter note, we are all learning to adjust to what is associated with the dreaded phrase we all loath....."The New Normal". We will recover and our country has the resolve to make the economy prosper and get the hospitality industry back to work. We all just have to realize that the fix will require adjustments, news ways of thinking and patience as we get through the second half of 2020.
Google article source via Forbes can be read in full here - https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/07/27/google-employees-will-work-from-home-through-next-summer/?fbclid=IwAR1wBLYUGdCXfZ-n3TkJVr09agSUuCBeghJJKvozBzz7nsu4ndZeEiLwXPE#31ec491b3268
About the author, Loren Ellis - Loren is the founder and leader of Until We meet Again. He has been involved in the meeting and events industry for more than 20 years working with companies including Google Cloud, Arista Networks, Cisco Systems, Applied Materials, Xerox and Siemens Medical. His portfolio can be viewed at https://loren610.wixsite.com/lorenellis