When the Whole World Gets Sick, What Does That Mean for Wellness?

Here’s what the future of wellness, health, and safety looks like from the perspectives of experts in two different fields.

Authors: Nancy Davis       
Steven A. Adelman       

Global Wellness Summit

Participants at the 2020 Global Wellness Summit in Palm Beach, Florida, chose how they wanted to experience sessions — while exercising or sitting.

Convene asked individuals from inside and outside the business events industry to talk about behaviors and other changes brought on by the pandemic that are lasting, and in particular, to share which ones they think are likely to transform events. We offer their insights and opinions on this page and in the rest of our July-August CMP Series, What Will Stick?

Wellbeing Will Be the ‘Central Focus of Successful Meetings’

Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused people to review their own health and wellness regimens, with an eye toward prevention and an openness to and embrace of everything from meditation, spending more time in nature, the central importance of community and connection, and a continued concern for healthy eating and exercise. Mental-health issues were the parallel pandemic, and the lasting impact of isolation and loneliness will be with us for some time.

The wellness world exploded with innovation. We expect wellness practices to continue post-pandemic, as they have been around well before — in some cases, for centuries. People are more open to alternatives to Western medicine and they are getting real results because there is science and evidence to prove the efficacy of most wellness modalities.

Events are more wellness focused and that will continue, I hope, forever. Putting the wellbeing of meeting attendees front and center should be the norm now, as sitting for hours in a windowless room will not be acceptable for most conferences. Healthy eating, exercise, moments of meditation and stress release, fostering and nurturing community — all of these elements will become the central focus of successful meetings.

— Nancy Davis, Chief Creative Officer and Executive Director, Global Wellness Summit

We Shouldn’t Miss This Chance to Change

There is much that consumers could potentially change about our post-COVID behavior that would limit infectious disease transmission. Think of really basic things like better personal hygiene and covering our mouths when we cough. However, my own recent experience at sporting events, restaurants, and stores is that, as happened after the Pandemic of 1918, public places and attendees are returning to business as usual as soon as they possibly can. What pandemic?

I think people will be eager to gather in person for the next several years, at least until the emotional scars of 2020-21 have mostly healed. This presents an opportunity for event/conference organizers to incorporate healthier practices without worrying about driving away attendees. This opportunity might, however, be highly regional, another casualty of the politicization of formerly non-partisan issues like health and safety. I will hope for the best but prepare for other reasonably foreseeable possibilities.

Steven A. Adelman, J.D., Adelman Law Group, PLLC, and Vice President, Event Safety Alliance