You Have No Space To Host A Health Fair? ...Think Again
Posted on Thursday January 5 2017
How to Find And Maximize Space (You Thought You Didn't Have) to Host a Health Fair at Your Office/Worksite Location
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been to hundreds of health fairs. I've seen little, big, wide, long, not enough room, too much room, corporate, manufacturing, indoor, outdoor, started as early as 6 am, ended as late as 8 pm...you get the picture.
Not only did we attend, but the team and I would also set up the health fair venue with the necessary amount of tables and chairs needed to accommodate all attending vendors.
I have a lot of experience "creating" a health fair venue out of space that you didn't think could be used for an event. And I'm here to tell you that if you want to host a health fair for your employees at your office location - you can make it happen.
Back in the early stages of HFC, a team member and I assisted with a health fair in Hendersonville, NC. This company was a bottling facility located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. And not only was this health fair during the winter, but it started at 6 am. Yes, you read that correctly, 6 am in the morning. When we arrived for setup (around 5:15 am!), we were taken to the health fair venue - which looked like a large, walk-in closet. Not only was it a pretty small room, but it was the room the company used for storage. So, you can imagine quite a few obstacles in our way when trying to set the vendor tables out. The team and I decided to look around the facility, hoping to find another option, but we had no luck. And of course, be it the fact it was February (and 6 am), an outdoor event was out of the question. However, props to the HR manager for not giving up on the event just because they did not have ideal space for a health fair. We were able to (comfortably) fit seven vendors inside the room, and it turned out to be an excellent event.
The moral of the story: when there's a will, there's a way.
Even a health fair with as little as seven vendors can still be a benefit to your employees. And if we could find space at the health fair just discussed, then anyone can find the space.
The information and pictures below will give you some creative ideas as well as help you start thinking the right way when you look around your office trying to "create" a health fair venue - not to mention, some tips and pictures of how to ensure a smooth employee flow with your vendor table placement:
Conference Rooms Are Overrated
Now, some of you might have a nice-sized conference room that makes finding space for a health fair a breeze. However, this is not the case for everyone. Not to mention, you might have one of those large conference tables bolted down in the middle, rendering your conference room a no-go.
But this shouldn't stop you. You can always have your health fair in the hall. And let's be honest, everyone has hallways.
Notice how the tables are not placed in front of each other which opens up space (you didn't think you had) for employees when they attend the health fair.
Not only does a hallway health fair create a smooth employee flow, but it's also going to guarantee you employee foot traffic - keep this in mind when picking the hallway you're going to use.
Don't choose a hall that none of your employees use.
From experience, I would say a hallway health fair executed correctly averages a higher employee turnout rate than a health fair tucked away in a conference room.
It's out in the open, it's difficult to avoid, and it creates a great atmosphere that will attract your employees.
In the picture above, that glass wall is the wall of the conference room we decided not to use. However, the hallway had a few lounge chairs and a couple of potted plants that needed to be relocated to make it work for a health fair venue. So, where do you think we put those chairs and plants??? In the conference room that we were not using, of course.
There is always a way to make space, and a hallway health fair venue for 8-10 vendors is usually a possibility.
Another option you don't want to forget about is your cafeteria/break room:
Your cafeteria/break room is another great spot for a health fair venue where you're practically guaranteed employee foot traffic. Not to mention, you most likely have all the tables and chairs needed right there at your fingertips.
I usually recommend scheduling your health fair around the lunch hour, but that might not be a possibility if you're using the cafeteria/break room for your event. In this case, schedule the health fair right after the breakfast or lunch hour to catch a lot of your employees that are already in/near the cafeteria/break room.
Now, if you do have a large enough cafeteria/break room, then stick with the lunch hour and section off a certain amount of room/tables for the health fair. This is an ideal situation where you're guaranteed to grab the attention of your employees.
Either way, picking the cafeteria/break room can be a perfect spot for your health fair venue.
So, look around your office/worksite location with a different perspective, and you might start thinking twice about using that conference room for your health fair this year.
The Great Outdoors
Okay, so let's say your office/facility is just not made to host a health fair. Don't let that stop you!
Take a look around outside and try to honestly tell yourself that you don't have space for a health fair venue. You have a parking lot, don't you?
Another benefit of outdoor health fairs is you can have even more fun and interactive vendors that might be restricted from an event held indoors.
When space is not a factor, vendors tend to increase their presence and add more interactive activities to their health fair booth.
Tell me you wouldn't want this outdoor vendor at your health fair:
If for some reason the parking lot is not available, look for other areas located around the building. Typically, corporate offices have a grassy area/courtyard, while manufacturing and distribution facilities usually have tons of space (including other buildings on the property that would be great space for a health fair venue).
This company below cleared out the vehicles in their garage bay and turned it into an excellent health fair venue:
Now I realize this is not an actual outdoor venue, but it's still outside of the company's office/worksite location - and look how much space they have!
By going outdoors, you can refresh your employees by getting them out of their workplace for 20-30 mins. Not to mention, an outdoor health fair can have a carnival-type feel to it instead of just their typical employee health fair.
Your outdoor event can go from this:
Although an outdoor health fair is always a possibility (and can be a blast), I still think you should look inside first. If there isn't enough room inside for the amount of vendors you want in attendance - then take it outdoors.
And if you do go the outdoor route, keep these three tips in mind:
- Have A Rain Date: Have an additional date in mind you can use if the weather is bad on your original health fair date
- Lock Down Tables & Chairs: Most likely, you'll need to rent tables and chairs for your outdoor health fair. Be sure you do this at least 10-14 days out from your event date.
- Electricity?: Ideally, you're able to run extension cords (or have outdoor electrical outlets) from inside to the health fair venue. If not possible, be sure you let your vendors know prior to their arrival.
Keep It Flowing
Now that we have discussed how to find space for your health fair venue, let's talk about maximizing that space with your vendor table placement.
Sometimes it's not a good idea to only set vendor booths around the walls of the health fair venue. You might have too many vendors for that diagram, yet you're trying to cram them next to each other.
Think a little differently this year...
As you can see in the picture above, that's a colossal health fair venue. You might not have that much space (and if you do, you'll love these ideas). However, the same setup style can still apply to your smaller venues.
Notice the two rings of vendors in the middle of the venue. A ring of vendors (in this case, two rings) in the center of your health fair venue is going to open up the flow of employees and allow you to host a larger number of vendors at your health fair.Meaning, you can prevent employee log jams as large numbers enter your health fair at one time. Your employees don't feel they as if they have to visit one particular vendor booth that's placed directly in front them. They can "bounce" from one booth to the next when a vendor's table opens up.
Another way to avoid employee log jams and to increase the number of vendors you can host is by setting up your health fair venue up in rows. Rows are a different style of setup but serve the same purpose.
Check out this setup below:
I hope these pictures give you some ideas when it comes time to setup your health fair venue.
Remember that you can increase the number of vendors you can include as well as create a smooth employee flow just by changing the layout of your event.
So in conclusion, the main point to take away: There are no excuses, HR and benefits professionals, for hosting a health fair - you can find the space to make it happen.
I have full confidence you can create a health fair venue for your employees. If you're thinking the right way, you're going to find that you have numerous options for where to host your health fair.
And keep in mind, you can still reap the benefits of hosting a health fair, even if you only have room for 5-7 vendors.
*You can read about the benefits (you might not have thought of) from hosting a health fair by clicking here.
They will appreciate you making the effort and going the extra mile to make an event happen - not to mention, you'll look like a rock star to your employees!
So, feel free to share this post or comment with any questions. I'd be more than happy to share more suggestions and ideas.
Thanks for reading!
More About Health Fair Connections (HFC):
Simply put, we offer the only nationwide health fair planning tool that helps HR and benefits professionals automate 95% of the health fair planning process. The coolest part: it's like online shopping for health fair vendors. This tool is completely free to use, and you can get started at any time by clicking here.
- Tim Sackett's (President of HRU Tech) post about HFC: Click Here
- HFC made William Tincup's Recruiting Daily List of 100 HR Technologies worth watching: Click Here
- HFC's Competitive Matrix:
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