The Opportunity of a Hybrid Model

“Success in a hybrid work environment requires employers to move beyond viewing remote or hybrid environments as a temporary or short-term strategy and to treat it as an opportunity.”

– George Penn, Managing Vice President, Gartner
black and white image of a bearded man with a handlebar mustache sitting at a desk in an open office environment, he is laughing and has a strip of paper with "be happy" taped to his forehead, his computer screen shows some angled designs with various style and texture photos pieced together.

As companies try to bring more of the workforce back into the office, they are being confronted with differing hybrid vs full return to office models and reports from the experts, not to mention employees who are reporting higher levels of stress and varying rates of engagement. There’s no doubt that the effects of the pandemic and how it shifted societal views are being felt the world over. Now the question is becoming “Can we return to the way things used to be?” Or rather, “Should we be trying to?”

In June, Gallup released its State of the Global Workplace report, which states that 44% of the 122,000 employees it surveyed felt “a lot of” stress. These feelings of stress led to 51% of employees actively or passively looking for a new job. That rate of turnover is extremely detrimental to a company on every front. Between the hours needed to onboard new team members and the culture shift that happens with each new departure/arrival, progress and efficiency slow, which only leads to a rise in stress and frustrations.

So what should employers do? Will a sweeping return to office mandate help? Well, not necessarily. Gallup also reports that feeling disengaged has 3.8 times the influence on stress-levels as opposed to work location. It’s less about whether or not an employee is in office versus remote, and more about them feeling adequately utilized and properly cared for as an individual. In fact, when asking the “Quiet Quitters” of the survey, 41% say they would make their current company better with engagement and company culture, especially as it relates to recognition, opportunities to learn, fairer treatment, and clearer goals.

A team pretends to lose a member in a small waterfall.

Now, this all should be viewed as an opportunity. An opportunity to reset. An opportunity to meet your employees where they are. Take the time to understand what their personal and professional goals are, help them connect with their colleagues, and have meaningful interactions with them on a regular basis. Otherwise you risk an increase in burnout and active disengagement. Here’s a few easy ways to go about making those meaningful connections.

1. Have weekly meetings with your employees

Nothing helps build an IRL connection like meaningful conversations. Whether they’re just a weekly check-in or an in-depth progress report, it’s important to make sure you have an understanding of how your employees are doing, beyond simply what they’re doing. Do they want an opportunity to grow in their career? Are they overwhelmed by a certain project? These meetings should be a process of making your employees feel both seen and heard. Find ways that you can help them take that next step in life.

2. Host a networking or team building event with a twist — in-person or remote 

Think outside the wine mixer. The goal of networking and team building events is to make sure that people are fostering new connections in the workplace. CEI has loads of different ideas from game shows to casino nights to charitable events that will bring your whole team closer together and maximize their networking potential.

3. Be mindful of your remote employees

Make sure that every team member feels like they’re a part of the larger community. It is easier to have pop-in conversations when everyone is in the same building, but don’t neglect the talent that chooses to work from home. Make time for them, and actively seek out their input. Have a hybrid event coming up? Try to make it so that remote employees can still connect with their in-person cohorts.


The world has been forced to change a lot over the past few years. Every market and every industry is being presented with these changes. Don’t fear them. Accept these changes for the opportunities that they are. Opportunities to reconnect in new ways, and to build something brand new. 

Every New Beginning Comes from Some Other Beginning’s End

The end of another year is the perfect time to take a moment to reflect, and to take stock of all that we’ve accomplished. We here at Corporate Event Interactive have been so fortunate to play a role with so many companies this year who sought to come together, some for the first time. Seeing all of these faces join together to give back to the community or to go on a scavenger hunt or just to mingle and play some friendly games has been a joy for us.

One of the winning team’s at a Bike Building Workshop.

Team building turns a company into a community. It could be as simple as sharing little known facts or as complex as solving a series of riddles to escape from a deserted island. Our aim at CEI is to get your team out of the cubicle (or bedroom turned office) and into a state of play. This play-state breaks down the barriers between coworkers and helps them connect in a deeper, more meaningful way. Our CEI team makes sure that everyone becomes engaged and gets to know each other — developing deeper bonds and helping them function more effectively and efficiently.

As we close this chapter called 2022, we are excited to see what’s next for you. We know that the past few years have not been easy, but we are ready to help where we can. The workplace continues to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing world we live in, and our CEI team is overjoyed that you trust us to help your company become a community.

Team Building Trends & Networking News, October 2021

Holiday Season is Near … Let’s celebrate another year!
By Linda Whitlock

Hi Everyone,
And just like that we are winding down another year! Are you making plans for a fun celebration or meaningful give back with your group? Remote or in-person, ’tis the season to celebrate your team’s resilience and hard work navigating through another unprecedented year.
Let’s team up and plan a festive event that your team will love and remember!
~ Linda

Team Building Trends & Networking News, February 2021

Enhancing Virtual Meetings and Incentive Trips

By Linda Whitlock

Planners are getting creative when it comes to presenting exciting entertainment for virtual destination meetings and incentive trips. After all, what can compare to actually spending a week in Costa Rica or Italy? How about tasting wines from around the world or a hands-on cooking class with a celebrity chef in your own home? Enjoy front-row seats to a sought-after concert or amazing magician. At CEI, we team up with planners to offer interactive team events to enhance the virtual travel experience. Check out two of our newest programs!

Team Building Trends: Holiday Edition, November 2020

Celebrate Virtually

By Linda Whitlock

Virtual holiday parties and year-end celebrations are happening! Employees, colleagues, members, students and families still want – or need – to connect and celebrate.

Show appreciation and let everyone know that they are a valuable part of the organization. Messages, calls or cards go a long way! And, there are many options for virtual gatherings. From chocolate and wine tastings to gift box deliveries and care package building to dance parties and game-sharing experiences, the possibilities are endless. If you need ideas, we are happy to share resources!

It isn’t what you say — it’s how you celebrate it!

(Remote) Team Building Trends & Networking News, October 2020

Virtual Holiday Team Experiences

By Linda Whitlock
Hello Everyone,
It’s hard to believe we’re already midway through October, and quickly transitioning into the Holiday season.
Our celebrations will certainly be different this year as companies and families gather virtually or in small groups. And, though we may not be able to break bread in person, we can still enjoy the season and be grateful for what we have.  

At CEI, we’ve developed a series of virtual team experiences that add joy to the festivities. We would love to partner with you to help spread cheer at your holiday party!
Celebrate the season with your team in a new way!

(Remote) Team Building Trends & Networking News, September 2020

Introducing iQuiz/iQuest CVB

By Linda Whitlock

Hello Everyone,
Suddenly it’s September! Is it much different than April? Students are logging in to remote classes, trade shows have simulated exhibits, conferences choose from a variety of platforms to best present their educational sessions, corporate groups search for new experiences and the virtual craze continues.
With an eye on 2021, we are helping our industry partners stay connected with their clients in an entertaining and fun way. Using our innovative technology, we are developing programs that give DMCs (Destination Management Companies) and CVBs (Convention and Visitor Bureaus) a new means to show off their city I’m very excited to introduce iQuest CVB and iQuiz CVB – two virtual interactive alternatives to showcase your destination.

See your city and its possibilities come to life in a new and exciting way!

(Remote) Team Building Trends & Networking News, July 2020

Corporate Groups Earnestly Embrace Change

By Linda Whitlock

Hello Everyone,
For most corporate groups, it appears that we may be interacting remotely for a bit longer. Kudos to planners who are finding new platforms, programs, and partners to produce their virtual experiences. Who knew we would all become tech experts overnight? Check out the  BizBash Virtual Event Guide – an excellent source of information!
Our CEI team is navigating the trend — creating more innovative activities to help keep your remote employees and attendees engaged. Whether you are looking for an energizing break in your virtual conference, an exciting activity to help boost morale or an inspiring way to give back to the community, our programs are completely customizable to your company and message that you would like to convey.

(Remote) Team Building Trends & Networking News, June 2020

From the Expert

Summer! Undoubtedly the favorite season for Chicagoans as everyone gets outside to play. Even with social distancing in place, being outside is a great stress-reliever and can provide mental clarity after being shut in place for so long.  
Innovative activities and programs are popping up all over – yoga in the (virtual) park, online concerts, farmers markets, drive-in movies! Even summer camps and festivals are being reimagined to help us come alive in the summer.  
Another favorite summer experience is Adventure Hunts. Whether remote, in-person with small groups, or a hybrid – these engaging and enlightening activities continue to be popular options for corporate groups and new student orientation.  
It is exciting to see how organizations are adapting to create innovative events to free our summer spirit! How will you spend your summer this year?
Let’s connect

(Remote) Team Building Trends & Networking News, May 2020

From the Expert

By Linda Whitlock

Hello Everyone!
For many of us, our new daily routine includes video conference meetings, schooling our kids, sharing photos from our WFH offices and ordering take-out. Now is the time to think about next steps!
How will you navigate through this?
What are your professional goals and objectives?
What are your biggest challenges?
Who can you depend on for support and information?
Each day I work to answer these questions for myself and I am grateful to be part of a progressive and compassionate industry with a vision! Our community is coming together to discuss what really matters, best practices and how to navigate our now reality.
Would you like to join us?
Let’s connect