Since the Covid-19 pandemic saw lockdowns across Europe and businesses adjusting to new ways of working, the EAPM has also had to adapt. Board and committee meetings went virtual and the first online-only Delegates Assembly was held in September 2020. Many of our members reached out to us, not only for support and information, but also needing the EAPM community to discuss ideas and share recent experiences on the ‘new normal’ that Covid 19 forced us all to accept and adapt to.

The EAPM secretariat learned as we went along, how to make remote meetings successful. We made sure each attendee had a chance to use their voice. Splitting the full-day board meetings into two half-day ones with regular screen breaks helped with fatigue. Ensuring we had a well thought out agenda, that we followed closely, set out the expectations for the meeting and allowed us to improve on our efficiency.

EAPM board meeting

Friday 17 September 2021 saw the first physical board meeting in Norway. It was a wonderful opportunity for our President, Even Bolstad, to welcome the board to his home City of Oslo. Although we have been holding regular board meetings via conference call, there was a noticeable difference in meeting face-to-face. It is a reminder that although technology has been crucial during the past two years, collaboration and human connections thrive on in-person interactions.

“It is a bit strange; having seen each other so frequently during Covid, cooperating more closely than maybe ever before in the history of EAPM. We were forced to go digital, and soon learned to utilize the way of cooperation possible through the pandemic. But in fact several of us had never met before, except through Teams. And although we had done rather well digitally, meeting each other in person definitely added something extra. Learning is that we can and should still go digital, we do not have to fly around in Europe to get things done. But to build culture, chemistry, trust and understanding between people, nothing beats meeting, laughing and building shared experiences together.”  Even Bolsted, EAPM President

EAPM board meeting

With the ever-changing Covid landscape, the future of EAPM meetings will be hybrid. We will meet in-person when we can. But for those who experience travel restrictions, we will make the most of technology to continue having productive meetings. This format proved a success at our last board meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, where we made some great progress planning for the Delegates Assembly in December.

“With commencing any new job there’s a steep learning curve, but add a global pandemic into the mix and it feels like you’re scaling Everest! I joined EAPM in February 2020 and within weeks we were in lockdown. Over the last 12 months we have seen a change in President and a transformation of EAPM’s operating activity, but the one thing that has remained constant throughout is the energy and commitment of our member associations. I am proud to be a part of such a great European team and I’m very much looking forward to meeting everyone in person at the Delegates Assembly in 2022.” Rebecca Normand, EAPM Secretariat

power of Human connection

We will continue using and improving on, what we have learned about successfully holding remote meetings, into the future with our hybrid meetings. However, we can all agree that there is certainly something about meeting face-to-face that simply cannot be translated virtually.