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Face time with colleagues

CEO NOTES | WORLD staffers find our periodic retreats well worth the wait

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We’ve had quite a week here at WORLD’s offices. On Monday, Oct. 9, almost our entire remote staff arrived in Asheville. We ended the week with a Friday board meeting.

In between, the entire group shared meals and meetings. We worshipped, played games, and sang songs together. We don’t get together very often, so we make the most of it when we do.

Pulling our far-flung staff together is hard to do, logistically and financially. It’s valuable, though, so we try to do it every few years. Our last in-person gathering was in 2019. We all think waiting four years was too long, but we also all agree that it was worth the wait. We had a really good time.

Some highlights:

  • A Tuesday evening worship service led by our staff and board members along with a local pastor. We held it at the beautiful little church across the street from our offices and invited all staff and the spouses and families of local staff members.
  • A Thursday evening dinner with all staff and board members. No program, just conversation. We sat at tables with people we don’t work with every day, so we got to know a lot of our colleagues a lot ­better. By the end of the night, though, the conversations had coalesced around longtime work friendships.
  • Late-night board games and music-making. Our people have many talents. A few of them have a deep competitive streak. Both came into play during these ad hoc sessions.

Overall, the unstructured, no-deadline, in-person, extended time we were able to spend with each other was priceless. Amazingly, even with all that, we were able to get our reporting work done during a week of big stories.

As far back as the 1980s, WORLD’s editorial leadership knew it needed to embrace the idea of a “distributed workforce” if we were adequately to cover national and international news. Even then, without the benefit of email, we managed to exchange documents and files digitally. Without the benefit of Zoom, we held virtual meetings. Even with rudimentary 20th-century technology, the benefits of working that way outweighed the burdens.

It’s much easier to work remotely these days, making it that much more important that we prioritize in-person time. I’m so glad we did.

Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin is the CEO of WORLD News Group.


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