Kerrie Juels
Nov 20 · 5 min read

Building Formlabs Culture and Community in a virtual world

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What is the Experience Team at Formlabs?

At Formlabs, employee experience is key for engaging our diverse community of Formlings and building a strong company culture. The Experience Team (Diana Janec, Design and Tori Mayo, Events) is dedicated to celebrating our community and company-wide achievements, with the motto “surprise and delight!” This ethos influences our choices for events, company swag, and office installations. Our initiatives shape how we recognize employees and important milestones like work anniversaries and new product launches. We aim to bring people who may not otherwise cross paths together to meet, mingle and collaborate through uniquely curated experiences.

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When COVID-19 hit, the mindset of “experience” in the workplace shifted. In-person gatherings became limited or unsafe, and we found ourselves facing a challenge: How can we still make Formlabs feel like a community, even when we aren’t all in the same place?

It became clear that our 7th Annual Summer Camp weekend, scheduled for late August, would need to be canceled. Summer Camp is one of the most anticipated employee events of the year — a weekend where Formlings and their families are invited to a picturesque camp in the Berkshires. Guests enjoy the lake, ropes course, tie-dye, games, karaoke, and hours spent around the bonfire. It is a chance to unplug, connect with colleagues, explore interests, and celebrate together away from the office.

We started to wonder — if we can’t bring Formlings to camp, can we bring that Summer Camp magic to them? And thus, the idea for Camp Quarantine was born.

Rather than scrapping this signature weekend completely, we took on a challenge to bring 400+ Camp Quarantine Packs to the doorsteps of employees across the United States. Spoiler alert: it was a huge success.

Designing a personalized experience for 400+ employees

At Formlabs, customization is key. It’s what we enable our customers to do with our products every day, and it’s something that fuels the success of our own community full of unique perspectives, interests, and identities. We carry that mindset over to our experiences as well, with an emphasis on cultivating a “Formlabs feel” in the workplace experiences we create.

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We started with a “personality quiz”, consisting of out-of-the-box questions to help identify each Formling’s “Summer Camp Personality”: The Gamer, The Foodie, or The Outdoorsling. We also included some questions for Formlings with children and created Kids Packs to provide a genuine Camp Formlabs experience for everyone.

An added bonus of this approach was the ability to include Formlings who otherwise would not have attended Summer Camp. With offices across the globe, it is our Somerville-based office that makes up the majority of Summer Camp attendees. This year, however, we were easily able to ship Camp Packs to Formlings across the United States. Even though we weren’t all in the same place at the same time, Formlings shared the collective experience of getting nice surprises in the mail.

Intentional Partnerships

The widespread impact of COVID-19 beyond Formlabs was not lost on us, and we wanted to do our part to lift up businesses and vendors where we could. We were inspired to seek partnerships that fell into at least one of the following categories:

  • Local
  • Small Business
  • Womxn-Owned Businesses
  • POC-Owned Business
  • Sustainability Focused

Not only were we offering our employees a memorable package of activities we knew they would love, we also had a platform to provide visibility to businesses and introduce an audience of 400+ customers to them. It was a kit we were proud of giving and getting.

Inspiring Creativity

We’ll call it like it is — 5+ months into the pandemic, many of us were feeling stir crazy. It was important to us that the Camp Packs could serve a real purpose in the lives of our employees. Inspiring our community of Formlings to do, play, create, and explore was top of mind.

What made it into the Camp Quarantine Packs?

  • Hammock: For the Outdoorsling to hike, camp, visit parks, or put in their backyard
  • Formlabs Monopoly: For the Gamer to play; a completely customized set, full of inside jokes, 3-D printed parts, and little stories about our culture and history
  • Ingredients from local shops: for the Formchef to tinker with ingredients, recipes, and supplies across a variety of flavor palettes
  • Each Camp Quarantine pack also had a custom Coloring Book Illustrated by Formling Tim Zylic, a card with invites to small on-site or virtual events, a few special stickers and buttons to remember this camp experience by, and much more!
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Outcome

Our biggest lesson learned? Our employees love tie-dye and hammocks. But most of all, the surprise of finding a thoughtfully curated activity pack on their doorstep was a thoughtful way to celebrate making it through an otherwise stressful year. Camp Quarantine not only introduced people to a pool of new small businesses; it also sparked their creativity and brought organic community conversations, while building lasting memories for our most unique Summer Camp yet.

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Interested in joining Formlabs? View our open roles here!

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