When Your Conference Goes Virtual (By Choice or Otherwise)
The National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) is a non-profit that creates an environment where accountable care organizations (ACO) can exchange ideas, engage policymakers, create standards for their industry and generally work together to increase the quality of healthcare in America at a lower cost where possible. Each Spring and Fall the organization hosts a conference in the Washington DC market to network, exchange ideas and generally receive updates concerning their industry. These are the industry’s only events that are produced directly by ACOs. Like everyone else across America, the group’s world was rocked with COVID-19 and with travel restrictions in place hosting the conference in-person was not a safe and reasonable possibility.
Still, the information needs exchanged. The members want to be connected with each other.
Anna Lafayette is the Director of Operations for NAACOS and lives in the Fishers area. She’s worked for the organization for over seven years and has managed their twice-yearly conferences each year she’s been on the team. In April 2020 her team understood that the conference would have to take place virtually. For Anna, COVID-19 didn’t impact her day-to-day work life very much. She was already a remote employee so she never had a commute to contend with or an office to visit. However, hosting her conference in the Washington, D.C. area was out of the question and she realized that this event would be produced on screens rather than stages and risers.
Anna’s team began planning a virtual program. The conference changed from a 3-day event to a nine-day event, with events occurring at the same time each day in a small, predicable window of time. And it would all be conducted through laptops and streaming services. As confident as Anna’s team was in their ability to pivot as-needed and still produce an event attendees would find valuable, there was one thing missing: the reassurance of reliability. This is where Office Evolution Fishers (OEF) enters the story.
Anna shared her story with the OEF team in April. She secured a small office in the month of June and found the benefit of working from that office even on days in June when she would not be live on camera. In addition to the office, she had full access to the community kitchen offered at OEF, unlimited coffee and tea for her and her teammate working in the same office and free parking in the heart of the Fishers Nickel Plate District. Of the experience, Anna states that she and her team were, “Very glad that we found Office Evolution when we had to pivot from our in-person meeting to a fully virtual conference. NAACOS is a virtual organization and our employees work from home, and day-to-day, that works out fine. But, to run a fully virtual conference, with multiple people needed in the same location with landlines and stable, secure, high-speed internet was going to be a huge challenge for us. We were so grateful to find an organization like this. A place where we could have the flexibility to run our meeting for a month with a secure office, secure internet and space. It was perfect. In fact, it was so perfect that we are holding our fall conference virtually and have come back to Office Evolution. It is so convenient, affordable, and they have everything a small business could need.”
There were two aspects key to the decision to choose Office Evolution Fishers. The first was the flexibility provided. Anna’s team used Office Evolution Fishers for a month, was not required to sign a long-term agreement, but still had all the benefits of a brand-new, Class-A office building including access to a network printer, coffee service and ensuite restrooms. And even though NAACOS was only using Office Evolution Fishers for a month, they were allowed to decorate the room so that it had a ‘lived-in’ feel when Anna and her teammate were on-screen by hanging prints and pictures on the walls. The second attribute Office Evolution Fishers offered was the fact that Anna and her assistant Emily would be in the same room at the same time producing a virtual conference. This was crucial. Ultimately, in an office that measured approximately 80 square feet, the National Association of ACOs was able to successfully execute a conference that typically takes place across a few thousand feet of ballrooms and conference rooms in a Washington, D.C. convention hotel. In fact, the conference was so successful that the organization will be producing their Fall 2020 conference from Office Evolution Fishers in September 2020.