As virtual event attendees view events from their home offices, the way they set up their environment can make or break their experience. As the research suggests, people may waste time and energy more on trying to regulate poorly designed workspaces, instead of investing the time and effort into work and their work relationships (Vischer, 2008).

It may seem that regulating a workspace doesn’t require big effort however studies show that people’s preferences are affected by, among other things, indirect lighting, mechanical ventilation rates, access to natural light, new furniture, and aspects of the acoustic environment, as well as some degree of participation in decision-making (Becker, 1981; Brennan, Chugh & Kline, 2002; Hedge, 1991; Humphries, 2005; Veitch, Charles, Newsham, Marquardt & Geerts, 2004).

In the virtual age many of these factors have to be regulated by the user themselves. However, that doesn’t mean virtual event designers can’t help their online viewers stay focused. They can:

  • Provide verbal and on-screen suggestions for viewers to clear their desk
  • Provide technical support rooms, to help them configure their camera, microphone and office set-up before the event goes live (especially for presenters)
  • Make frequent, and timely reminders to reinforce behaviors such as closing blinds, finding a private room, wearing headphones, etc.

Attending a virtual event is new for many audience members, so we need to help them get set up for success.