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March 19, 2021

A Year of Teleworking: How We Stayed Inspired

By Melissa Frey

We love a theme at BCRA. Our 2020 theme, Designed to Inspire, ended up, in many ways, being prescient. Can you think of a year where we more sorely needed inspiration and connection? At BCRA, we were continually inspired by our community and industry partners, social campaigns, and innovative workplace solutions in unprecedented times. We’re sharing our own remote working successes in hopes that others can be inspired to embrace change and new challenges.

The choice to remain inspired and to continue serving our people and community was a conscious one; an effort that took intention.

We started internally. With over 80 employees working remotely, we created new ways to foster connection and bolster the sense of the “BCRA team.” Feedback from staff has showed appreciation for leveled-up staff meetings.  We choose themes for Zoom backgrounds and attire to foster conversation and camaraderie. Inspired by John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” web-series, we launched our own show that focused on staff news and achievements that may be missed by not being together. We’ve also introduced a “nature minute” during meetings, with the goal of bringing attention to mental health.

Once a month, staff are treated to goodies that are either delivered to their homes or picked up in a socially distanced manner from the office. It’s a chance for us to connect and share with one another, and it made a big difference.

Externally, we focused on loving local. Staff meeting goodies have been exclusively provided by local vendors, especially small, women-owned, and Black-owned businesses such as bakeries, coffee roasters, breweries, and wineries. Special shout out to Love By The Slice, Campfire Coffee, and Metier Brewing.

Another initiative enabled staff to work full-time hours on projects that serve local non-profits. Site planning efforts and concepting for capital campaigns brought multidisciplinary teams together on meaningful efforts meant to elevate community. During the past year of remote work, we still found new ways to tackle challenges on behalf of our clients and partners.

We started 2020 Designed to Inspire and are bringing it into 2021 in that same mindset. We now know that even in the toughest year of our generation, the act of creating affects change in the world. Design creates a better future; a thought that will forever keep us inspired.