Though it’s clear to everyone that the COVID-19 saga is going to drag on for a while yet, there’s certainly light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccination efforts have been going fairly well, all things considered, and lockdowns (while frustrating in so many ways) have been slowing the spread enough to keep hospitals going. Furthermore, we’ve all become so accustomed to the demands of this era that mere hints of normalcy feel extremely refreshing.
For many businesses, not much will change as things start to open back up: they’ve moved to remote working and can simply continue in that vein. Media companies, though, don’t have that luxury. While many of their tasks can be handled from afar, the overall process of media production obviously requires many company outings. Scouting locations, assembling sets, gathering extras — and that’s before you even reach the filming stage.
So much media work has been canceled or delayed due to the pandemic (S&P Global notes the challenges), but we’re getting to the point at which production will approach normal levels once again, and that puts some pressure on your business to get ready for in-person events. In this post, we’re going to cover some tips for your preparation process, ensuring that you’re ready for a comeback. Let’s begin.
Decide which employees need to be present
That you need to hold a conventional company event doesn’t mean that you need everyone to be there. Gathering your team is a good idea under normal circumstances, but these aren’t normal circumstances. Think carefully about which people can contribute remotely without losing out — but keep in mind that it’s about more than just roles and responsibilities.
You may have an editor who could work from afar, for instance, but has barely attended any production events. In that case, you should seriously consider inviting them so they can get that relevant experience. On the other hand, you may have a highly-creative director who loves to be on set, but have a lineup of static scenes that won’t need much creativity (and can be suitably defined during pre-production). Make smart choices to keep numbers down and improve safety.
Reactivate all necessary insurance policies
Production requires moving and working a lot of expensive (and often heavy) equipment, making it a minefield for health and safety at the best of times. Given the obvious risks inherent to holding a company event during the COVID-19 era, you must ensure that you get all your insurance policies back up and running before you get started (they’ll likely have lapsed by now since it’s almost been a year — as I write this — since the first lockdowns began).
That said, it’s possible that you had inadequate coverage before or have some reason to change your provider. If so, there are plenty of services out there (Duuo, for instance, offers flexible event insurance) that are capable of picking out some policy arrangements to perfectly suit your needs. If in doubt, get coverage in excess of what you expect to need. These are uncertain times.
Order more than enough protective gear
In the same vein, you shouldn’t simply order the gear you think you’ll require. What if some masks tear and you don’t have any replacements on hand? What if you need to shoot for longer than you thought and you need more supplies to sanitize your equipment? The last thing you want to do is run the risk of facing legal action because you failed to protect your employees.
Come up with some realistic figures (you can read up on what other production companies have done to get a solid indication), then boost them by 20% or so. Additional expenditure is annoying, particularly during a time that’s been so financially challenging for so many companies in the media world, but the alternative doesn’t warrant contemplation.
Set clear steps for handling positive tests
If possible, you should have a testing system in place through a service like TTS, but that might not be something you can budget for. Regardless, in the event that someone on your team (or someone you’re working with) tests positive for COVID-19, you need to know exactly what the process is. After all, any delay in your response could cause major problems.
That also means being strict about the severity of the issue. The person in charge sets the tone, and this is no time to be flippant about a virus that’s cost so many lives. If you experience an outbreak, don’t equivocate and look for ways to keep things going: shut the operation down. The only way things can eventually get back to normal is if we all act responsibly.
Duuo was created by The Co-operators, a proudly Canadian insurance company founded in 1945 by a small group of farmers and social pioneers who felt traditional insurance didn’t meet their unique needs. That’s why they invented a different kind of company designed especially for them.