How we run ‘COVID-conscious’ in-person team building events (4.5min read)

October 27, 2020
by Liam Mumford

The need to get outside and connect with our peers, friends and colleagues is stronger now more than ever. At Pinnacle Pursuits, we are proud to be spearheading team-building and leadership programs for adults and youth that puts COVID-19 safety first. Right off the bat, we feel the need to mention that any events we run are in light of provincial guidelines offered by Dr. Bonnie Henry and with the strictest of measures designated by the parties below. In the event of a directive to avoid in-person gatherings, we will be switching entirely to our successful virtual event platforms. Pinnacle Pursuits has a long history of healthy and safe client engagement and our aim is to maintain that record over the coming months in light of the added risk factors brought about by COVID-19. With that in mind, we have subscribed to the safety standards and guidance set out by the following bodies: 

We want our clients to understand that, while a formidable barrier, ‘COVID conscious’ group experiences for less than 50 people can be enjoyed with thoughtful preparation and careful execution. We have created a thorough set of program protocols that we have made public on our website – you can find our protocols here. We present our practices openly so that everyone creating connection opportunities has access to the best advice we have discovered and successfully implemented.  

So how do we design and safely deliver these programs?

Open & Honest Communication

It starts with our first line of communication with our client. We are fully aware that concerns over COVID-19 safety will be one of the first barriers to overcome for anyone looking to book an in-person event. We do not shy away or skirt around this discussion – we ask the right logistical questions in the first conversation to see if a program is actually feasible. Some of these questions may be:

This conversation is continued all the way through the program proposal and development process. With each logistical roadblock we encounter we are always willing to find a solution or make the hard decision when we cannot assure the best safety practices.

Being Flexible

We have set our bar high when it comes to our COVID-19 safety standards and we will always go the extra mile for our client. Our team has held many creative problem solving sessions dedicated to finding alternative ways to adapt each of our services to adhere to physical distancing or ‘no touch’ practices. This is quite the challenge for a company that is all about human to human connection! Nevertheless, we have been able to modify these exercises while maintaining and, in some cases, elevating their specific learning outcomes.

Pre-program Participant Screening

Once a program is confirmed, we ask all participants to fill out a COVID-19 health questionnaire. This self assessment asks for participants to verify that they have no symptoms of COVID-19, have not had contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days and have not been outside of Canada in the last 14 days. These are the self isolation criteria that have been laid out by BC CDC guidelines. While we do not like to exclude anyone from our programs, if any potential participant answers positively to any of the questions we will request that they do not participate in line with provincial regulations. 

This process shows our clients that we, as event organizers, are doing our due diligence. Each participant will also get the peace of mind of knowing that everyone who attends the program is answering the same questions and is, to the best of their knowledge, COVID-19 free.

Staff Training and Screening 

Prior to the programming, each staff member rostered for your event is subjected to the same COVID-19 questionnaire as participants to ensure consistency among all attendees. Furthermore, staff are given a COVID-19 health and safety measures manual to read that supplements a virtual training programme we host. Our extensive staff training process ensures all questions and concerns are answered and that each client benefits from clear, competent and confident staff members.

Setting Expectations

We always start our programs with a welcome and briefing. In this time we like to frame the day for our participants and be clear with what they can expect from their experience. We ask our participants to look after themselves physically and emotionally to communicate with us if they are ever in any discomfort. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we additionally ask our participants to be considerate of the varying levels of COVID-19 comfort in their group. Together, we must comply with levels of caution in order to create an environment of psychological and physical safety in which all participants can thrive.

Our Safety Practices in Action

The Clients:

Client A) An exceptional school based out of New Westminster, with whom we have worked for many years. Their goal was to give their students a celebratory start to their school year and build their sense of community spirit. The school admin wanted us to teach the students life skills and the importance of developing resiliency in these tough times. Take a sneak peak into the event we ran here!

Client B) An award winning landscaping company who wanted to bring their team together through a retreat to create a vision for moving forward and strengthen the connection between employees. Hear from their President, Jeff Foley.

Measures Implemented:

On the day of the programs, with both of our clients, we implemented the following practices and procedures:

  1. We hosted our events in large open areas where we were able to separate groups and support physical distancing.
  1. Every participant and Pinnacle staff member present wore a mask when the program was in session. Participants only removed their masks for water breaks, at meals or when physically distant from others.
  1. We kept bubbles together as they rotated through the activity stations so there was minimal group mixing.
  1. Between each activity rotation the facilitators took 10 minutes to collect and sanitize all of the program materials used by the participants before laying them out for the next group. 
  1. We provided sanitization stations at every activity rotation. Participants were required to sanitize their hands at the beginning and end of each rotation. 
  1. In activities where shared equipment could not be sanitized effectively we had the participants wear gloves throughout the duration of the activity before disposing of at the end of the rotation.
  1. When not wearing a mask, our facilitators maintained a physical distance of at least 6ft from all participants at all times. 

By rigorously following all of these steps, we believe we have created unique, meaningful and safe experiences for our participants. We have shown that, even amidst a global pandemic, we can still bring people together for much needed in person outdoor experiences.

To find out how we can provide an incredible experience for your team give us a call at 604-876-7535 or visit our website at www.pinnaclepursuits.com.

Liam Mumford

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