People at conference

It may not always seem it, but the world is returning to some sense of normalcy.  Take the conference scene for example.  When Covid-19 first hit, the world was tracking super spreader events that triggered the outbreak.  For those of us who have spent a lot of time in the conference circuit, things got a little scary when 1 case was traced back to a conference where you had just been.  And then it all went to zero.  Immediately.  

Reliving those days is the last thing any one of use wants to do, but it is rather amazing how quickly large gatherings evaporated, and despite the fact that too few people go into an office today, conferences have almost seemed to have come back just as quickly.  This return has obviously meant more to some cities than it has to others.  But the return from the depths has conferences feeling like a bit of a novelty and more people are attending than ever.  

While this sounds like fantastic news, it’s not without its challenges.  The hospitality industry is still short of employees.  Conferences, while a near constant in a place like Las Vegas or Orlando, are a far less regular a supply of economic uplift to a place like Chicago or Minneapolis.  But what this really says to us is that people have not fundamentally changed over the last several years.  There is a real benefit to seeing other people.  There is benefit to collaboration that stems from real human contact.  Conferences are an indication that relationships still benefit from shared experience and they are a reason for hope in the world of office space.  It may not happen as quickly as the return of conferences, but offices will fill again someday and it will be great for businesses and economies alike. 

Source: Wall Street Journal


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