A few weeks ago, Redback, like many other businesses, had to change the way we work almost overnight to continue to provide a reliable, secure and safe virtual event service for our many valued customers during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The demand for digital events, as well as teleconferencing and virtual meetings, was growing quickly as customers adapted their own businesses to enable their employees to work and communicate with their customers, and with each other, from home.
Meanwhile, we needed to continue to provide access to our broadcast-quality studios in Sydney and Melbourne for those customers who wanted to maintain the professional quality that a studio environment offers.
In early March, we equipped our entire team to work from home, including ensuring our technical team has a dual home screen computer set-up, VPN access and backup 4G internet access if they’re running online events such as webinars and live studio broadcasts from home.
Not long after that, the team switched to working remotely, including sales, development — many of whom already worked remotely, and delivery. The exception to that is when we’re running digital events from our studios, when our technicians are in the studio to provide technical support.
There’s no doubt we’re operating in a rapidly changing environment. The demand for remotely delivered digital events and webinars has more than tripled since February this year.
But while some of our customers have switched to remote delivery only – which means they’re presenting from their home or office environment – there are still a significant number of customers that prefer to present from our studios, taking advantage of the green screen background, broadcast-quality webcasts and greater level of technical support.
Here’s how we manage our processes to observe social distancing, facilitate remote delivery and ensure the safety of our customers and staff as we all work to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Prior to social isolation rules requiring people to work from home, customers would often come into our broadcast studios prior to their first event to familiarise themselves with the studio environment.
With so many people working remotely, customers can now take a studio tour on the Redback website to help them understand what filming a virtual event or webinar entails.
Legally, we are required to send a questionnaire to presenters who want to come into the studio to ensure they haven’t been overseas recently or been in touch with anyone who has COVID-19.
Entry to Redback
When customers enter Redback’s studio to film a broadcast, they hit a speaker button on a phone to let themselves in.
They are greeted by our technicians, who walk them to our presenter area, maintaining social distancing of 1.5 metres at all times.
Our common areas, where presenters sit prior to their broadcast, have been physically altered so they can sit while maintaining social distancing.
Before and after customers come into Redback’s studios, we clean and disinfect the studio presenter desk, room and equipment such as microphones and iPads.
Our technicians wear masks and gloves. And while in the past we would have personally mic’d up presenters, we now ask presenters to put on their own microphone, following our instructions.
We have changed the way our studios are physically set up. Our smaller studios previously had capacity for two presenters and a technician. Now we only allow one presenter and one delivery technician in the studio.
Our large studio could previously accommodate as many as six people at a presenter desk. We’ve separated our presenter desks and decreased capacity to three presenters to maintain social distancing.
Our two-camera studio set-up means we can close that distance visually during the filming.
In our large studio, an organiser who wants to watch the digital event being filmed can still do that: we can accommodate one person who can sit behind a glass panel and watch the webcast, while maintaining a safe distance from our technician.
During Live Events
While live digital events are being filmed, presenters can communicate with Redback’s technicians via iPad.
Our delivery team also monitors the webcast remotely to ensure quality and communicates directly with our technician in the studio if there are any issues.
Increased Training for Remote Delivery
With the huge increase in demand for remotely delivered webinars and webcasts, we have increased our training resources to train all presenters on how to use the Redback platform remotely.
When people are presenting remotely, we train them on how to use the platform and test their internet connection, webcam and audio – at a time that’s convenient to them.
Many presenters are busy people, but during remote delivery they need to operate more of the technology, such as moving their own slides and taking questions online while presenting, so we ensure they have the training they need to be comfortable using the platform.
When customers request an event to be filmed at an external location, such as their offices, our videographers are masked and gloved, and armed with hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes.
Again, we ensure our equipment is disinfected, and we ask presenters to mic up themselves. All sets are arranged to observe social distancing requirements.
We can accommodate a combination of physical and remotely delivered presenters if required.
Where we previously would have required slides 24 hours in advance of a studio broadcast, we recognise that everyone is working hard to adapt to the current environment, sometimes changing their own content the night before an event. We’ve relaxed our processes to be more flexible and agile so we can minimise stress every step of the way.
There’s a risk of overlooking things when you’re all working remotely. Our teams are in constant contact with each other to ensure no detail gets missed. We collaborate via weekly ‘All Hands’ calls and regular team meetings on the Redback platform and we use WhatsApp to stay in touch before and during digital events.
Everyone’s working around the clock to manage increased demand, so we also send care packages to our staff and look for new ways to keep everyone engaged and overcome remote working barriers, including increased check-ins and virtual team challenges.
Redback is in the process of fitting out new studio locations in Sydney and Melbourne to expand our capacity with all studios on a single floor.
There will be 2 large studios and 2 small studios in our new locations. Every studio will have a glass partition separating presenters and technicians. We’re looking forward to moving into our new offices soon!
Demand is continuing to grow for virtual meetings and events, and Redback is there to ensure customers find it as easy as possible to translate physical events and conferences into virtual experiences. And if you prefer a studio environment, we’re taking all the necessary steps to provide a safe, professional environment for presenters, organisers and our team as well.