The warm winds of recovery that are dominating the weather fronts of the Business Events industry here in the US continue with Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) attracting almost 500 in-person attendees to their invitational at the J.W. Marriott Marco Island last week. By all accounts it was a wonderful event with great education, research and networking, and all attendees agreeing overwhelmingly on one thing: it’s great to be back in-person.

This reminded me that something special is unleashed when real people meet in real time in real places. Somehow the sum of one plus one meeting or connecting is not two, but three. There’s a further dimension, another energy, an additional force. There’s me and you but there’s also me + you and, try as we might, we simply cannot achieve this magical math with virtual connections.

This leads me to another thought. Remote working. 15 months after Covid stopped the world in its tracks many offices remain vacant with metaphorical tumbleweed blowing randomly between the photocopier and the coffee station. Yet work has continued unabated. Yes, production levels may be down in some industries but overall the economy has held up, even growing significantly for some sectors like Information & Communications Technology (ICT), Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and Healthcare.

Without a global pandemic we’d never have had the opportunity to investigate if  universal remote working was successful or not, but now we know it is. We’ve done it for over a year. This unintended social experiment has been proven to work and now most companies and workers intend to keep it going, at least on a partial basis.

And herein, I think, the opportunity for incentive travel professionals. We know that remote working “works” but we also know – now more than ever – that face to face encounters bring another dimension – the one plus one equals three factor mentioned above.

With increasing numbers in the future destined to avoid the office and opt, instead, for #WFH (aka Working from Home)  or other forms of remote solutions, corporations will need programs that bring workforces together. They’ll need programs that help their people onboard with corporate culture, understand mission, vision and values, connect with corporate history and legacy, all without the physical office environment to act as the classroom.

Aren’t we the ones best suited to design such innovative programs?

P.S. We’ve received some correspondence about the alleged misspelling of “Hearsay” as in Heidi Heresay, our mystery columnist. But there’s no misspelling, of course, just a play-on-words reflecting the DNA of The DMC Network. DMCs are all about real places, the “here”, and “Heresay” is just our super-clever way of expressing that!