Effective communication and flexibility are key to the work that we do at Vector. From regular team check-ins to interdepartmental presentations, we ensure that everyone’s on the same page so any adjustments that need to be made can be made efficiently.
For months we had been looking forward to welcoming our remote team to the New York City office to work together for a few days and celebrate during our Annual Vector Summer BBQ. On the morning of July 19, 2018, their first day in New York City, a steam pipe exploded beneath Fifth Ave. in Manhattan (half a block from our office) that sent plumes steam into the air, shutting down the streets and subways surrounding us. Not exactly the best way to welcome our remote team to the office! With some people already in the building and others en route, Maggie made sure to communicate safety concerns and other instructions clearly to the team as we all jumped on Slack to share what we knew and to get new information.
At first, with no reported serious injuries, it just seemed like it would slightly inconvenience those in the area. We advised each other on alternate routes to the office and street/subway/bus closures as we became aware of them. When the NYPD started roping off the area in front of our building and warning of asbestos exposure, however, it quickly became clear that it was something a bit more serious.
Our office ended up being evacuated by the FDNY, and our team holed up in a variety of locations to work for the day and with a potential for a week or more without an office or the ability to get computers from inside. From home offices to hotels to bar & grills, we all made it work! After spending the weekend together at our Summer BBQ, when Monday rolled around we were still not allowed in to our office.
Matt Weinberg stepped in and secured temporary office space with one of our clients in the Financial District for Monday (thank you, Dan!), and by Tuesday it was business as usual at our Flatiron office. What can be learned from this unexpected event?
- Stay calm. Rather than be thrown by this unexpected event, everyone was calm and communicative.
- Trust your team. Communication by the whole team led us to creative solutions.
- Go with the flow. Being flexible helped us be more responsive and adaptive in a time of crisis.
Although this event displaced our office for a few days, we are thankful that no one was harmed. Thanks again to our clients for their understanding, and a big shout out to the team for keeping things up and running!