HEIDI’S POV:

Math has never been my forte, but I didn’t have to be a genius to know that I was going to need to check TWO (maybe three) bags for my flight to the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) Invitational earlier this month at the J.W. Marriott, Marco Island.

A REAL LIFE, IN-PERSON EVENT!

WITH OTHER PEOPLE!

Yes. I was yelling there. And, yes, most definitely all attendees absolutely did need to see every single pair of shoes that I purchased during my online shopping “therapy” sessions that helped me get through the early days of the pandemic. Hence the need for two suitcases, but hashtag so worth it, and hashtag I looked awesome.

Oh to see and be seen. I was so excited to have something on the schedule other than another Zoom meeting, that I didn’t think about the impact of the live experience until I was there in real time. The same people who had been merely flat images on my laptop screen encased in a Brady Bunch-like grid for the past 15 months were now in the flesh. No one was on mute!

I know I mentioned that math is not my forte, but I read recently that one plus one makes three, and I’m pretty sure I understand how we can get to that sum.

At the IRF Invitational, I could feel the energy of the human spirit with every in-person interaction. I could sense a shared joy and a real connection as my peers and I digested information and exchanged ideas. We were no longer just two people in any one conversation. We were achieving an additional force of connection - a synergy that joined us in our collaborative purpose. It was thrilling.  I have to admit that pre-Covid, I had been taking a lot for granted, but my return to an in-person event reminded me of the real value of face-to-face meetings.

I think this WFH situation is going to stick around for a while. It works if all we’re trying to do is get the job done. But I’d like to hope that team leaders understand that there is much more to business than simply getting the job done. People thrive when we have human interaction.

We Incentive Profs get it. We’ll be here to champion the cause and we’ll be the architects of innovative programs that pluck us out of our kitchen offices, into really great shoes and back into collaborative spaces.

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