How to Ensure Your Ops Staff Has Sufficient Event Prep Time. 6 Steps.

3 March, 2021

For operations teams looking to help customers execute outstanding events, one of the most important resources is time.

When team members are rushed, they’re much more likely to make mistakes. Whether that’s because they don’t have the luxury of reading setup instructions carefully or they’re distracted while talking with a customer on the phone, the result is the same: something is forgotten or a critical detail is incorrect, and the customer ends up frustrated or angry.

What can be done to prevent this type of situation? Well, as an events department manager, you can take these six steps to ensure your operations team always has ample time to prep for events:

  1. Determine the appropriate setup time by event type. Make a list of every type of event that you host. Then sit down with your setup crew and get their input on how much time, generally speaking, is needed to prep for each. It’s important that you get this “in the trenches” insight, as the perspective of people not actually doing the work may be different.
  2. Determine the appropriate customer access times. For any event created in Mazévo, you can specify how much before the event start time the customer can have access to the room. So, for a particular type of event, your team’s experience may be that it works best if there is 30 minutes of setup time and the customer is allowed into the room 15 minutes before the event.
  3. Determine the appropriate tear down times. Obviously, your ops staff can’t start prepping for an event until any tear down and clean up activity associated with the prior event has been completed. Decide how much tear down time should be included for each event type.
  4. Determine the appropriate buffer time. In addition to setup time and tear down time, a third time your schedulers and ops crew should keep in mind is what you might call buffer time. It’s time between the tear down time for one event and the setup time for the next. Having a little cushion means you won’t run into problems if, for example, an event runs a little longer than expected and consequently there’s a delay in getting the room torn down and cleaned.
  5. Document and post recommended times. After you’ve reached consensus on how much time is required to prepare for and clean up after events, and how much time you want as a buffer between events, document your recommendations and be sure that anyone creating events in your scheduling system has access to, and uses, the information to guide their decisions.
  6. Discuss setup/tear down/buffer time in ops meetings. Even with your recommendations documented, there will always be exceptions to the “rules.” Whenever you and your ops staff get together to review a list of upcoming events, be sure to talk through whether there is enough time on either side of events and between them to ensure that your team can do its job carefully and thoroughly.

Setup Time and the Goldilocks Zone

Scientists looking for life elsewhere in the universe use the term “Goldilocks zone” to refer to planets that are both not too warm and not too cold to have liquid water that could support it. Keep in mind that you want to be in the same zone with your setup time.

By that, we mean you want enough prep time that your ops staff can do their job well, but not so much that you’re missing opportunities to host additional events. In other words, you don’t want to automatically slap three hours of setup time on simple catered events “just to be safe” when it’s clear that 90 minutes will be plenty.

It takes a little effort, but once you get zeroed in on the appropriate setup, tear down, and buffer times, you’ll have your team and your customers perfectly positioned for success!

Dean Evans

Dean Evans is the Founder and CEO of Mazévo. Check out his articles about event scheduling software.