The client for this teambuilding event had two office locations in Boston, and were merging offices leading up to the event. Mindful of this change and hoping to build inter-team rapport leading up to the move, the client selected CSI DMC to design and orchestrate an event to introduce and re-introduce 2,500 employees to the neighborhood. What better way to do this than by throwing a block party in the heart of Back Bay!?
To keep the event close to home, the key design points of this event were to showcase the neighborhood where all employees would be based, fill the event of local character, and showcase the heart of Boston with its historic roots, modern amenities, and ease of access to the surrounding attractions of the city. Above all, the client wanted all employees to interact with each other and allow them the freedom to come and go from the event in conjunction with their workday. With these elements in mind, Copley Square was selected as the preferred destination, offering close proximity as a way to highlight the neighborhood of the office, with lighthearted games that encouraged multiple players across all teams, ample dining options with local food trucks from the Back Bay, and a flexible multi-hour time window in which guests could stop by from both office locations. Close proximity further reduced CO2 emissions, as fewer vehicles would be needed to move the guests, a green attribute of the program.
There were several challenges with this event, starting with the venue itself–this was the first event of its kind in Copley Square for over 10 years! Normally, the space is reserved exclusively for public and city hosted events. The newness of the project required detailed plans not only with the client but with city officials as well. Permitting was the most intense part of the program’s process by far. Each city services department needed to be pitched individually by our team. The process started with the Boston special events group developing a sketched layout to showcase exactly where everything would be placed within the space by vendors and sponsors. Boston PD was then contacted to approve occupancy for the square. Fire was by far the hardest permit. The planners submitted the original sketch without the fire code details, but due to the fact that we were to have an open fire for the local catering open grill buffet, a last-minute notification from the department had CSI seeking the final stamp of approval just 5 day before the event! The perimeter was then approved by the fire marshal, with day-of setup beginning early the morning of the function.
Security at the event was also an extremely high priority. The Boston Marathon bombing had taken place only a short distance from the event, and many employees were acutely aware of the history of violence at public events in Boston. To alleviate guests’ concerns, and ensure the utmost security for this event in a public space, the DMC worked closely with Boston PD. The morning of the event, a walkthrough of the park was orchestrated with the police and DMC staff, working to clear non-event guests from the space in accordance with permitting and securing the perimeter with bike barricades. Full day monitoring was also put in place for the event, along with staff to ensure that invited guests only were in attendance.
The event itself was a great success, not only from a guest experience standpoint but in that it accomplished the client’s goals and was within budget due to CSI’s strong relationships with local vendors. Kicking things off at the block party, a quarter of the guests came from one office location aboard vehicles provided by CSI, and the rest were able to walk across the street from the office off of Copley Square. Buses were on a constant loop from the event location to the offices, with guests arriving in a flow with the most senior attendees arriving first. To entertain guests and develop this event as a recreational activity appealing to a diverse selection of attendees, CSI also hand-selected food truck vendors that typically station themselves in Copley Square to give attendees a taste of the neighborhood. Local bands, games, and healthy living activity stations were also included in keeping with the style of the client’s CSR advocacy. The block party was an enormous success, with all the specialty entertainment, games, and hyper-local catering options highlighting the neighborhood that employees would call home, as well as providing the client all that was envisioned for this recreational event!