Despite the ongoing pandemic, the work we perform in the public relations, fundraising, and public affairs sectors is more relevant now than ever before. Luckily, our team has grown to include a diverse group of individuals with specialized backgrounds to provide our clients with new and innovative ideas to manage this shift.

The K2 team, like everyone else, had to learn to acclimate to working from home and managing our work relationships remotely. As new members were added and transitioned onto the team, we have had to discern each other’s strengths while at the same time learn how best to work together remotely to better serve our needs as a company.

Fortunately, for the first time in over a year, we were able to gather together for the annual K2 team retreat, which was held in Stillwater, Minnesota. Our team members traveled from Illinois, greater Minnesota, the Twin Cities and even New York; and for many of us, including myself, it was the first time getting the chance to meet everyone in person. (Special shout out to our newest team member, Chris, who braved the unknown to attend the retreat and meet the team before his first day!)

I appreciated being all in one place and getting to know everyone’s personalities and backgrounds through the various conversations I had with our interns still in college, recent graduates, as well as established professionals, many of whom have years of experience under their belt.

Being the one team member from New York and having worked with the team for several months, I feel as if I was truly able to finally get to know members of the team in ways that I haven’t been able to through video and phone calls. The reality is this…COVID has affected the workplace and although work from home is far superior to a formal office setting (in my opinion), it can also present some challenges.

One being that team members can work on the same clients and projects while being present in different states without having ever officially met. Although it allows us to serve clients from multiple locations, it prevents us from collaborating in person and can sometimes present some mental challenges to someone, like me, who gauges work productivity based on feedback.

Personally, one benefit that I took away from our retreat was our ability to collaborate in person in real time instead of the zoom calls that we’ve grown accustomed to over the last year. Over the course of several hours, we were able to discuss each of our clients in depth, as well as how different team members who have been added to the team over the past year could better incorporate their positive attributes.

Another part of the retreat that I found particularly interesting was our roundtable discussion concerning the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0. We shared how our EQ scores impact work relationships, in addition to the ways in which we can individually improve. Due to my type-A demeanor and as someone who constantly over analyzes situations, taking a deeper dive into everyone’s EQ scores and the things that make them “tick” helps me to better understand the feedback I receive. Before reading the book and our discussion, I wasn’t aware of the impact your EQ has on various traits and social responses, but now I am trying to incorporate some of the suggestions in order to be more self-aware.

Of course, no retreat would be complete without a team-building exercise. Although we didn’t partake in any trust falls, we did have a great time engaging in some friendly competition at a local axe throwing venue. (Sorry to anyone who was on my team, but shout out to our referee who gave me a pity point for effort!)

Additionally, I want to extend a special thank you to our company leaders, Kirsten and Kristen, who had to overcome obstacles to organize the retreat. I’m personally grateful for the experience and opportunity to meet everyone, and overall, I believe that every member of our team left the retreat having learned more about one another, feeling rejuvenated, as well as more aligned with who we are as individuals, our goals, and vision as a company.