I’m in a quandary. Would you run a face-to-face awayday for a dispersed UK/international team in September?

Benjamin P. Taylor
2 min readAug 30, 2021


We’re having a real debate about whether to stick with our in-person awayday at the end of September (rescheduled from July, rescheduled from June). That is, assuming we even have a choice and there isn’t another lockdown.

We really want to meet — for the first time in eighteen eventful months — but several people would not be able to, or choose not to make it, due to being vulnerable or uncomfortable (our people are all over the UK, and indeed some are overseas).

Is it time to carry on regardless (accepting that some are excluded)?

The argument here is that Covid isn’t going away, the government has removed all restrictions, and we just have to get on with it.

That if we don’t do it now, are we ever going to meet in person again? And that many businesses are back in the office, part-time at least.

And that ours is a relationship business and we rely on our social capital to work together, and we eventually lose our feeling of ‘belonging’. Plus virtual connecting just doesn’t work for everyone, so some people have really not felt a part of engagement activities for 18 months.

On the other hand, we run engaging, developmental, effective online events on a weekly or daily basis.

And the very rare face-to-face events some clients have insisted on have, by and large, felt awkward and uncomfortable, at least for many.

Those excluded people include the vulnerable — having to shield again for lack of consistent government guidance and enforcement — and the uncomfortable. So it would be a pretty quiet event in any case.

Plus of course testing, social distancing and masks would make it weird.

We might feel that we’re losing out from lack of personal contact — but we’ve always been largely remote, it’s hard to put a finger on *what* the damage is, and an event might not be the solution anyway.

Some would undoubtedly feel pressured to attend.

And just imagine the impact if someone got infected at, or because of, our event!

Compromises don’t seem to work — I haven’t heard of a really good hybrid event yet. We have one really neat telepresence robot — but only one.

We will make our own decisions — I ultimately have the responsibility — but, in a similar situation, what would you do?

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