For years we’ve organized an event at the end of the summer that we’ve come to refer to as Plank Appreciation Day (PAD). The intention is to take a bit of time off of work, celebrate our team and organize a few fun activities and meals. We’ve done things like boat rides, mini-golf, museum visits and even karaoke (which is a particular no-go right now). We usually ended the day with dinner and some drinks as a way to say thank you for making Plank a special place.
While we had a restrained PAD 2020 event with an afternoon meeting in a park — thanks obviously to some of the uncertainty around getting together during a global health pandemic — we wanted to do something different for 2021. We wanted to connect in an even more present way and enjoy as much of each other’s company as we could. The past 18 months have been hard for everyone in different ways, and we wanted to use our appreciation moment as an opportunity to celebrate more than we ever had before.
We decided that instead of celebrating our team for one day, we would celebrate by turning Plank Appreciation Day (PAD) into Plank Appreciation Week (PAW). For the whole week of September 27th, we offered at least one substantial event daily to connect but also keep the work we had to do on track. Since we knew that not everyone could join us in person for PAW, we went out of our way to ensure that the online and remote experiences were as good as possible.
In the end, most of the team took the opportunity to connect in person, share a meal and visit our physical office. In fact, some of our remote team members took the opportunity to visit Montreal and meet each other for the first time in person. In addition to enjoying four meals together, we had a trivia contest, wandered Montreal on a scavenger hunt and got to hear some presentations about things that our team is passionate about personally.
Overall, I think that the event was a resounding success. While some of us were exhausted by the end of the week from the non-stop interactions, it was a special time to pause, look around and realize how lucky we are to have each other in our lives. Plank doesn’t ever claim to be a family — because of all of the bad, as well as the good that comes with family — but we are more than co-workers. It feels like we are all a part of a community, we share values and care for each other. If anything, PAW 2021 reinforced that reality. As a result, Plank Appreciation Week will live on beyond 2021 and now is a part of our annual calendar.
I want to also take this opportunity to thank Paisley Nyberg and Stephanie Beasse for all of their hard work on conceptualizing and organizing PAW 2021. While Steve, our Managing Partner, and I cleared the week for festivities, it was their ideas and hard work that gave us the best week at Plank that we’ve had in a very long time.
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