Background

Dr. Suman-Lata Sahonta from Cambridge University organised a hybrid scientific/technical meeting of a consortium comprising four universities in the Crausaz Wordsworth Building at Robinson College during July.  This was attended by 24 delegates in person, with a further 20 participating online in order to adhere to the 2m+ spacing of desks. As one of the first in-person meetings to be held at the venue since the lifting of restrictions, it was essential that there was a comprehensive briefing ahead of the day.
 

Client: University of Cambridge

Type of event: Hybrid Day Meeting

Date: July 2021

Venue: Robinson College

Bespoke package

Dr. Sahonta explains: “We enjoyed close communication in the run-up to the event when Soniya and the venue team told us about the safety protocols they were using, and answered any questions we had about safety. I felt that the team was highly professional in conveying all of the information and was also very flexible in designing a bespoke package, given our hybrid meeting requirements. 

“As I work near Robinson, I carried out a site visit, during which safety precautions were in place including 2m+ social distancing, one-way routes, and the wearing of masks. It really helped me to get an idea of the space by attending in person, but it would have been possible by video call too.

Safety regulations

“Although we felt very safe, there were some guests who were initially anxious about attending a meeting in person, but they were put at ease when they saw the strict safety regulations and the diligence of the staff in maintaining a safe environment.

“Some of the safety measures included a shielded registration desk, Test and Trace QR code login, all staff wearing masks and cleaning surfaces regularly, one-way systems, and hand sanitiser stations located around the venue. There was also social distancing in the meeting room, toilets, and communal areas, effective ventilation in the meeting room provided by sliding doors and we were able to enjoy lunch outside in the fresh air.

Face-to-face interaction

“We had good feedback from delegates. Many believed that numerous discussions and collaborations occurred that would not have happened in an online environment. The more junior members of the consortium said that they typically receive little engagement and feedback from more senior members during Zoom meetings due to lack of time, but the in-person environment allowed everyone to mingle and discuss ideas more thoroughly. It was a huge benefit to them to have face-to-face interaction.

“Based on our experience we would definitely organise another event. We were all impressed with the venue and the excellence of the Robinson staff and have been recommending this venue to others.”