REACH and the Post-Vaccine World

These last few months have certainly been rocky; spiking cases haven’t given us much hope for the future, but after vaccinations gained traction and guidelines loosened, we’re feeling hopeful that we can see a distant end to this nightmare. However, we are still living in a state of uncertainty (especially in light of COVID-19 variants), so we’re taking the time here at REACH to weigh what this new chapter of post-vaccine life looks like for us. Though we love in-person events and traveling, we love our partners, staff, and community more. We’re committed, first and foremost, to keeping everyone safe. Through our new guidelines and constant communication with our partners, we hope to contribute to the upward trajectory of bringing life back to a healthier, happier place. We are grateful that we can get back to doing what we do best, and grateful to our partners and staff for sticking with us during the past year. Of course, we recognize that our approach may change (and likely will change) as the country’s response to the virus evolves – and we’ll be evolving right along with changing circumstances, as we have since the beginning of the pandemic last year.

If you’re familiar with our work, you’d know that traveling to every part of the country is a key part of our work with electric vehicles. Now that all of our staff members are fully vaccinated, we feel comfortable re-introducing physical EV test drive events to our partners and their communities. Getting back to in-person events after spending so long at home is not an easy task. The emotional and physical preparation for meeting in person is daunting and isn’t a job we’re taking lightly. To prepare for flying, we’re in constant communication with our staff and our partners about our travel plans, best practices for traveling safely, and local mask requirements. When examining destinations, we consider local guidelines, the number of cases, and the number of travelers. The US is still coming back to life, and with the Delta variant case numbers rising, we have to be very careful with the choices we make.

We’re happy to talk about our approach to travel. If you have questions or concerns, please email REACH’s CEO Kirk Brown at kirk@reach-strategies.org.

As for our events themselves, collaborating with our partners is always our first step. The companies and individuals we work with are located all over the map, and we make sure that their safety goals line up with our own. We have lots of questions for event day – What will the mask policy be? Will we have a detailed guest list for contact-tracing purposes? Will there be a capacity limit? How many hand sanitizer stations will there be? These safety measures will also be informed by state policies, and since we have partners in California, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Nevada (among others), there are a lot of guidelines to consider! Once we’re all on the same page and have agreed to shared standards, we delve into event specifics, making certain to keep our team and our community as safe as possible. For our in-person events going forward, we follow a detailed set of guidelines, beginning with mask mandates and timing slots carefully and wrapping up with contact tracing and disinfecting. This is serious business, and we don’t take the safety of our partners, their communities, or our staff lightly.

We’re happy to talk about our event approach, too! If you have any questions about our protocol, or wish to share your thoughts, you can contact REACH’s Senior Program Strategist Amanda Scarborough at amanda@reach-strategies.org.

Though our team has always worked remotely, 2020 brought huge new challenges to distanced work. We created new procedures for hiring, onboarding, and communicating within our tight-knit organization. Collaborating via Slack, Asana, Google Voice, and Google Meet actually enhanced how we communicate across state lines and time zones. Multiple new employees have successfully joined our team, using a new process of group and one-on-one video interviews – all while safely ensconced in our homes. As a result, it seems like our team is more connected than ever, and bringing these new voices to our team has refreshed our old practices. New REACHers have brought dreams to life that we never thought we’d be able to accomplish, too; our database team is hard at work creating a brand-new, user-friendly database for our partners, contacts, and leads. We’ve also had the chance to revitalize our look with a new color scheme and assets, as well as making significant progress on a whole new website. Perhaps the most important achievement of 2020 was our entry into the world of virtual events with a suite of community-friendly online workshops geared toward making EV education accessible, fun, and informative. Even with strict distancing guidelines, we’ve been able to innovate our practices and adapt our way of working to fit the needs of our staff.

For questions or more information about our virtual EV education events, contact REACH’s Communications Strategist Amy Riley at amy@reach-strategies.org.

We’ve looked back at how COVID-19 caused our work to change out of necessity and curiosity (see our “The Awful Year” blog!) and seen just how much we improved our strategies as we adapted to an unanticipated period that we hope to never confront again. As we move forward, we’ll continue leaning on our capacity to grow, adapt, and innovate. We won’t try to predict what the future might hold as the country emerges from this most difficult period, but we can say confidently that we remain as committed as ever to the safety of our staff, team members, partners, and all of those we meet along the way. We’ll continue sharing thoughts as our approach shifts with these changing times.

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