Keeping in Step from the Showroom to Santiago

In previous posts, I’ve espoused the importance that teamwork plays in the day-to-day showroom experiences of a Design Associate. With its own tenet in the organization’s Guiding Principles, Room & Board is a strong proponent of teamwork, encouraging employees to “build relationships based upon mutual respect and collaboration” with customers, vendor partners and peers. Teamwork is especially pivotal to the success of the Atlanta market given its relatively small size. With a staff of 12, we rely on one another constantly. I ask my colleagues for their opinion when creating intricate design schemes for customers, when I’m posed a question that I can’t answer, and when I can’t figure out why I’m not able to complete my order in SAP. In our market, where multi-way switching is not an option, it’s a team effort to simply turn on and off every one of the hundreds of lamps decorating our showroom at the beginning and end of each day!

As such, it should come as no surprise that when one of my colleagues is away from the showroom for an extended period of time, the impact of that absence is especially impactful. Faced with the imminent departure of our own Sandra Pawliger on a two-week backpacking adventure along the Camino de Santiago (commonly referred to as the Road to Santiago) in Spain, we decided to join her in spirit.

What resulted was a market-wide ‘Step Challenge’ in which we electronically tracked the number of steps taken during our work day. Because Sandra’s journey involved an amount of walking considered obscene to most of my teammates, we cheated a bit at the onset and tallied the total number of steps taken by each staff member as we progressed down the trail. Only in this manner were we able to keep up with Sandra. At each stop on her itinerary, we celebrated by sharing a bit of knowledge about the sights, people and cuisine she was encountering at the moment!

This effort not only raised our collective consciousness surrounding our level of fitness in the showroom, it increased our knowledge of a historically and culturally significant pilgrimage, embarked on by hundreds of thousands of travelers each year. For an idea of the sort of experience that our market was able to partake in, both firsthand and vicariously, see below for a sample of some of the gorgeous photos that Sandra shared with us upon her return.