Maintaining Community: Part II
What makes Asymmetrik feel like Asymmetrik?
Oct 13, 2020
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year like no other. As we adapted to the “new normal”, we focused on maintaining our culture and sense of togetherness. This means giving back to the community, continuing to learn and grow, and enjoying each other’s company while doing so. So without further ado, here’s what we’ve been up to over the last few months.
With the rise of food uncertainty in many households, our employees felt that we had an opportunity to help our local community. In September, Asymmetrik held a food and donation drive to help families, children, and seniors impacted by the pandemic. To make it interesting, we challenged our employees to a company match. And, our generous employees did not disappoint! Together, we donated a total of 1776 pounds of food to area food banks, plus $6000 in monetary donations to Maryland Food Bank!
In addition to the food drive, Asymmetrik donated to the Warrior Music Foundation. We found out about this non-profit through an employee, who told us about the good they do in the community by providing free mental health support services for veterans. Through music lessons and music therapy, their goal is to reduce the impact of PTSD in veterans and their families, as well as the stigma of mental health issues.
Since we’re big advocates of sharing knowledge, we’ve been hosting monthly Tech Talks open to the public. Our employees gave webinars on topics ranging from Web Development 101 (open to kids age 13 and up, and adults with no programming experience), to in-depth tutorials on how to build healthcare web apps. Feel free to subscribe to our Youtube channel for other talks and fun videos!
In addition to Tech Talks, we’ve started an internal Technical Innovation Series. Because many teams are working on solving similar types of problems, facilitating these in-depth discussions allows different teams a chance to collaborate. Our first discussion included areas such as operational use and maintenance of neo4j, which algorithms are most appropriate to use in certain situations, and determining who in the company has the most expertise in Spark graphX.
In BeforeTimes, we would have been looking forward to events like Star Wars Night at the Bowie Baysox, or our Annual Family Picnic. Since it wasn’t possible to have large gatherings this year, Asymmetrik’s Culture Manager Angela Tweedell challenged everyone to a month-long scavenger hunt instead. This was a welcome change from virtual events, because at this point, the Zoom fatigue is real. Rather than being on camera, participants could post pictures of their finds on a #scavengerhunt Slack channel instead.
The hunt started off easy, with items like duct tape, Old Bay, and stop signs, but the competition intensified once okra, rambutan fruit, and a VHS copy of The Little Mermaid were introduced. Though many A-Teamers attempted the hunt, only Software Engineer Gina Phipps reigned supreme. For her efforts, she won a grab bag of fun stuff she can use for next year’s hunt, plus a $100 Amazon gift card. Congrats, Gina!
Since flu shots are more important than ever this year, Angela organized a free, socially distanced flu shot clinic for The A-Team. We enjoyed each other’s company from 6 feet away, and it was great to see everyone’s (masked) face in the office.
Because she always goes the extra mile, we found a surprise waiting when we arrived for the clinic. Angela had arranged a big table full of mini potted succulents to take home, along with signs reading “Quarantine succ’d without you”. Thanks for the thoughtful touch, Ang!
With remote work still a big part of the foreseeable future, it’s more important than ever to keep up with all the little things that make Asymmetrik feel like Asymmetrik. But, we are grateful to have our health and each other, and we look forward to the day when we can see The A-Team’s smiling faces together again!