Every year, Ayers Saint Gross hosts a collaboration event where employees can get to know their peers, learn more about our work, and share ideas for the future. Prior to the pandemic, these events usually took place in person. People from all three offices would travel to meet up in person for a multi-day event consisting of learning sessions, happy hours, art exhibits, and more.
Since the global changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have become more creative about the way we gather. In 2020, we broke the mold by hosting an entirely virtual, week-long celebration of our firm. In 2021, we held a similarly structured virtual Collaboration Day. This year, we wanted to try something new.
For the past year, we have been adjusting to a hybrid workplace, in which employees spend time working both in the office and remotely. We wanted to bring that same flexible, creative energy to this year’s event. Though we knew it would be impossible to gather everyone in person, we took care to create in-person events wherever possible and convenient, bringing people out of their home offices and creating memorable experiences.
Below, President Luanne Greene and I share our main takeaways from this year’s planning process. We hope what we learned can help others who are planning hybrid events of this kind.
Know your purpose.
Whether you’re planning a virtual, hybrid, or totally in-person event, it’s always so important to know exactly what you are trying to accomplish. That way, when things get complicated – and they will – you will always have an ultimate goal to look back on and see what you are working toward.
For us, Collaboration Day ties very closely with our identity as a 110-year-old, employee-owned firm. We are always working to create longevity and success for our clients and for ourselves. Collaboration Day is one way we work toward this goal, by encouraging our employees to think about the best ways we are working and what we should do next.
Another key aspect of Collaboration Day is celebrating our employees and recognizing their hard work. Collaboration Day is a chance for employees to take a break, enjoy meals or happy hours together, and celebrate their efforts. In addition to revealing our annual stock price, we also take time to recognize key members of our firm for their collaboration and leadership.