PLANNER’S PORTFOLIO BACK TO BASICS
Organizing the On-Site Office
Louise M. Felsher, CMP, CMM,
is an event producer and writer
who specializes in strategic global
event marketing. She is based in
By Louise M. Felsher, CMP, CMM
etc. — should be rented on-site, either from the
hotel or a local equipment vendor.
KEEP IT SECURE
Offices ideally should be secured and locked
any time they are unattended. For extra precaution, lock all computers in the room to tables
or chairs via cable locks, and alert staff to set
their laptops to sleep/lock mode if they need
to leave the room.
Make it clear before you arrive on-site who
will have access to the office and who will not.
Access keys should not necessarily be given to
everyone. Consider appointing one or two
“gatekeepers,” besides yourself, to be the only
people with keys. These individuals should
have duties that keep them in the room most of
Despite your best efforts to monitor access
to the office, we all know that executives, clients and VIPs are liable to stop by at any time.
Remind staff to be aware of who is in the room
at all times. ■
• F&B stash. Make
sure beverages —
drinks and pitchers
of water — are always available in the
office. Keep healthy
snacks like almonds
and apples on hand.
• Stress reducers.
Infuse the on-site
office with a calming
plug-in scent, like
hiring a pro to give
staff chair massages
How to budget.
Venues often don’t charge for an on-site office or for extra office keys.
What you typically will pay for are F&B
and Internet access (for a large event, when you need
a network separate from your attendees’ network).
Tables, chairs and other elements might be comped or
addressed in your contract negotiations.
For large, multiday events, many plan- ners like to set up an on-site office, a space that serves as their hub of oper- ations for the duration of the meeting. This room or area can be used for anything — completing administrative work, holding staff meetings and even serving staff meals
— at the hotel or venue. Following are guidelines for setting up such an office.
CHOOSE A SPACE
On-site offices — typically a meeting room —
should be as close to the main action as possible.
But as planners well know, such a space can reverberate with frenzied and harried conversations, so the office should not be set up right
next to a meeting room or any other room that
will require quiet neighbors.
Be sure your on-site office is big enough to
provide a workstation that will accommodate a
laptop, Internet and power connections for your
entire staff, and visitors such as speakers, company executives and board members. The most
popular setup for a mobile office consists of
6-foot-long draped banquet tables set around
the perimeter of the room.
This arrangement also permits staff members to post their names on the wall above their
station and own the space for the duration of
STOCK IT RIGHT
Your office needs likely will vary from event to
event, but here are some guidelines of what to
consider stocking, and the best way to get those
• Laptops, small electronics, sensitive documents, flash drives and other easily lost items
are best hand-carried.
• Office supplies such as staplers, paper, ink,
scissors, shipping labels, Post-it pads, pens, tape
and an emergency kit can be shipped.
• Big items that are not cost-effective to ship
— copiers, shredders, industrial color printers, I L L U
> “Stocking the On-Site Office”
>“What to Take
Along to an Event”
12 Meetings & Conventions • mcmag.com August 2014
How to create a practical workspace at your meeting venue