How To Create A Reentry Plan

Jeff Joseph, President, SIIA

As governments across the nation begin lifting shelter-in-place orders and related restrictions implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are preparing to reopen and welcome back employees to the “new normal.”

Reentry plans will need to be tailored to address the conditions of a specific workplace and should follow the guidance of local officials to focus on the safety and well-being of employees and customers. Plans also should provide flexibility to allow for the home-life needs of individual employees and adjustable for changing circumstances.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) released guidance to assist employers in making decisions regarding resuming business operations. The guidance includes the following recommendations:

  • Protecting employees at higher risk of infection.
  • Creating action and communications plans for a re-emergence of infection.
  • Restricting use of shared space and items.
  • Communicating with local health and relevant government officials.
  • Intensifying cleaning and disinfection throughout the work space.
  • Establishing a system of regular health checks.

In addition to the CDC guidance, several agencies have issued useful guidelines and checklists to help companies develop their own reentry plan.

Additional resources:

CDC Checklist for Assisting Workplaces in Making Reopening Decisions

CDC Guidance for Disinfecting Workplaces and Public Spaces

OSHA Guidelines for Measures for protecting workers from exposure to, and infection 

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Guidance for Securing Video Conferencing

Commercial Real Estate Services provider JLL – Webinar on Strategies for re-activating workspaces

OSHA Guidance for employers who must train workers on how to use PPE 



World Economic Outlook 2020-2021: The Great Lockdown

By Matt Kinsman Originally posted June 10, 2020 on Connectiv

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt the U.S and world economies a series of often unprecedented shocks—the “Great Lockdown” as economists refer to it, basically closed a wide range of sectors including travel, tourism and entertainment and many more, resulting in unemployment rates in the U.S. of more than 20 percent as of June 2020 and drastic revisions of worldwide economic growth for 2020 and 2021.

In a Connectiv/SIIA webinar on June 3, Chris Walker, Deputy Division Chief of the International Monetary Fund, offered an overview of how government and financial institutions are attempting to combat the crisis as well as economic forecasts for the U.S. and other advanced and emerging economies based on IMF research that can be found here.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IMF had predicted the U.S. economy would grow at a rate of 2.3 percent in 2020—basically the same rate of growth for the last 10 years. Now, however, the IMF has dramatically revised its forecast, suggesting a drop of 5.9 percent for the U.S. and 7.5 percent for the Euro area this year.

“Anticipated drop per person worldwide is considered to be much sharper than during the 2009 financial crisis, which at the time was consider the gravest financial crisis since the Great Depression,” said Walker. “That highlights the scale of what we are dealing with.”

Governments and financial institutions have also taken actions not seen since 2009 (and in many cases, exceeding those measures) in an effort to preserve economies, including paycheck protection, loans for small business and individual rebates, as well as the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates to nearly zero.

“If you consider the three packages passed by Congress, that’s an increase in spending of about $3 trillion or 3% of the total GDP,” said Walker. “The Fed has provided a huge amount of credit support to the corporate sector and even extended lending to municipalities. Interest on a 10-year bond is now well below 1%, something no one anticipated the U.S. would ever reach.”

A recovery path depends on several factors, most notably a resurgence of COVID-19 in the second half of 2020 and 2021. “Our initial estimate is that we will not have a V-shape recovery for advanced economies–it’s actually shaped more like a check-mark with a sharp drop followed by a more gradual recovery over time,” said Walker. “Most risks are to the downside, with the first downside scenario being the outbreak lasts longer than originally anticipated. That means that at the toughest point, growth will be 2% or 3% worse than what we forecast. For example, the forecast for the U.S. is minus 5.9% for 2020 but that could end up being a loss of 8%.”

On the bright side, neither the U.S. government nor world economic institutions have exhausted their means of support. “We can’t borrow indefinitely even at these rates and not expect to see repercussions,” said Walker. “However, we are far from limit of support that the government can provide. If you can issue debt at less than zero percent and it can be used to support economic activity, that is an opportunity.”

DES - 600 by 600

The Rise of Digital Events

By Sherrif Karamat, CEO of PCMA (SIIA Partner Post)

Recognizing a need by members for guidance about building digital events, SIIA is excited to announce a partnership with PCMA, the world’s largest platform for business events strategists and their business partners. PCMA has a wealth of intelligence and resources about planning successful events both in person and online, and we will be sharing some of this with you, like this article from PCMA CEO about the rise of digital events.  Watch for information about an SIIA exclusive Q&A webinar with a PCMA expert soon!

Our cover story for the May-June issue of Convene traces how — in record time — we’ve come to take a more strategic approach to virtual events.

My preference is to call them digital events rather than “virtual” events, because “virtual” can be defined as “almost or nearly as described, but not completely.” And as we have come to realize as an industry, a digital event is an actual event. It just takes place in a different channel. We all have had to reshape our business models in warp speed, from live in-person events to those that take place on a screen, but our value proposition is not what has changed; the way we deliver it has.

We think live events will resume in phases in a “living with” COVID-19 world — because we can’t call it a post-COVID world until we have a vaccine or at least an effective treatment for the virus. Once we are past the crisis period — meaning the rates of infection drop significantly and travel restrictions are lifted — it’s expected that the first phase will mean smaller, local and regional events. In fact, in the third of our Recovery Dashboard surveys, in which 1,388 events industry professionals participated, more than half said that small, local events best described the recovery scenario. Smaller events will have to scale by taking an omni-channel approach to reach a wider audience.

The truth is, none of us knows the timing or way in which our industry will recover. VUCA — coined by the U.S. Army in the 1990s to describe the post-Cold War world — was never more apt for the world we’re in: volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.

And while it’s an understatement to call our current situation disruptive, “disruptive innovation,” which also became part of the business lexicon during the ’90s, seems to apply to digital events. Over the decades, disruptive innovation has been misunderstood to mean breakthrough technologies that make good products better. But Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen introduced the term to describe how products and services become more widely accessible and affordable when we have three things: enabling technology, an innovative business model that targets former non-consumers, and a coherent value network which benefits suppliers, partners, distributors, and customers.

We can’t minimize the suffering and loss of life caused by COVID-19. Nor do we yet know the full impact of its economic damage. But perhaps one day it will be seen as an agent for disruptive innovation, a time when the face-to-face industry fully embraced digital events and it became a value network for all our stakeholders.

Make no mistake: I can’t wait until we meet again in person. At the same time, I’m looking forward to seeing how we get more creative about meeting — and meeting our audiences’ needs in new ways.

Seeking to help provide business events strategists with access to the most reliable sources of information during this crisis, PCMA has created a website page, What Business Events Professionals Need to Know About the COVID-19. The page provides facts, figures, and the latest news about COVID-19 and how our industry is navigating the situation.

As a global network of events professionals, PCMA knows that the ability to plan and launch a digital event has never been more important to our industry. The Digital Event Strategist (DES) course can elevate your expertise on your schedule. It also lays the groundwork for the full DES certification — a designation that will help you stand out as an authority in an increasingly crowded field. 

Do you need to create a seamless digital event as soon as possible? PCMA has developed the Digital Event Fast Track, a collection of core lessons from our DES course, to help you meet your accelerated deadline. Use code SIIA when you register, and visit the PCMA Digital Experience Institute to learn more about the DES certification, the Digital Event Fast Track and solutions like coaching and consulting.

View over businesslady shoulder seated at workplace desk look at computer screen where collage of many diverse people involved at video conference negotiations activity, modern app tech usage concept

Tips for Growing Relationships with Coworkers While Working Remotely

By Ronn Levine Originally posted May 29. 2020 on SIPA

So like everyone else, I’ve been Zooming and Google Meeting and Go-to-Webinaring, and staring at myself in those various boxes. And there has been a lot of good stuff. SIPA 2020 was incredible. All of the sessions had live Q&As, so audiences were able to get specific questions answered. In fact, that’s probably one advantage a virtual conference has over an in-person one—you can get more specific questions answered, if not right then than later on.


While the loss of networking at in-person events has been talked about plenty, there has been less talk about the advantages of the office that we’ve lost. And at least for now, how to replace them.

All collaborative work does not get done in structured meetings. Many times, I would amble over to a coworkers office and we would talk something out. There’s more ease in person. When you’re writing communication, you really have to examine every word so there’s no misinterpretation, And even then, tone is lost. I have talked by Slack phone a few times, and that’s better, so I would at least encourage that. You can hear if someone is frustrated. You can laugh together without the smiley faces.

Schedule one-on-one time with colleagues. We have so many group meetings now that you don’t get to discuss things individually with someone as much. And we all know you’re not going to get the same candor in a group meeting that you would get in a one-on-one meeting. There are more people to possibly offend, less time to talk because of the numbers, and more opportunity to multi-task. It’s easy to lose touch with what is really going on without one-on-one meetings, especially boss to employees.

The proverbial water cooler conversation. Do we ever really say water cooler other than for “water cooler” conversation? At our office, we had a water fountain that people avoided like the… forget it. Anyway, it’s true that I would see Dan our incomparable IT guy or James our registration guru, and we would resolve a potential problem in the hallway. Can this be replaced? An article last year said that a recent MIT research project actually proved that the ‘water cooler effect’ increases employee productivity by 10-15%. So…

Encourage more “coffee breaks” with a colleague. That MIT research team suggested that encouraging shorter and more frequent breaks in the workday could be the key to allowing deeper, more authentic relationships between employees to be built. Now this was pre-pandemic, but it may have more validity now. Yes, everyone has a different schedule, but still designating 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. 10-15 minute one-on-one chats could be good. I would say especially the afternoon—I sense an energy drain then, where a coffee break conversation would be a good pick-me-up. Call it speed colleaguing.

Continue to reward innovation. A real risk with remote workers is that team members feel isolated and alone—especially if they live alone these days—and worse yet, that their good work goes unrecognized. Set up a formalized company program that shows appreciation and rewards workers for collaboration, engagement with the company’s mission, and interaction with fellow team members—again, even in one-on-one situations—who are working toward the same goals.

Encourage everyone to use their camera; supply them with one if they don’t have. In a SIPA webinar on managing remote work last fall, Dan Fink, managing director of Money-Media, said that “frequency of cameras being disabled has become an [engagement] issue that we’ve tried to address. We are encouraging people to use the video component. Audio is one element, but video another; it really enhances it… It really does make a significant difference.” In the two one-on-one interviews I did with the SIPA 2020 keynotes, Don Harkey and Krystle Kopacz, being able to see them did make it a different experience. I’ve done interviews by phone all my life and those are fine. But as far as making a connection, the video, as Fink said, enhanced tha


Navigating the CARES Act – How to Use the Coronavirus Stimulus Package to Benefit Your Business

An SIIA Webinar

Following passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) on March 25th, SIIA invited the experienced lawyers of Nelson Mullins to provide a deep-dive into the trillion dollar stimulus package – reviewing what’s included, who is eligible, and how to apply.  In particular, the team discussed:

  • Paycheck Protection Program – who is eligible and for how much?
  • Loan Forgiveness – does the PPP have to be paid back?
  • What are allowable uses of PPP loans?
  • Affiliation rules – Does the fact the company is controlled by a private equity firm render them ineligible?
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program – who is eligible and how much?
  • Emergency Grants – request, timing and eligible uses.
  • What are the affiliation rules for the EIDL loans?