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From the Library of Team Switchboard

We admit, it’s hard to avoid spending all our waking our hours with our eyes locked to a screen (or flipping back and forth between two or even three screens). But as far as we’re concerned nothing can replace the experience of getting lost in a great book – ideally a real book with actual pages.

All of us at #TeamSwitchboard are big readers, and we love to chat about what we’re reading now, as well as favourite books we keep coming back to. And so #SwitchboardReads was born. Each week we highlighted a book or two on Instagram. Launching this campaign gave us the opportunity to share books we love – and to show off the creative flair and styling savvy of our own Emily Reid.

So why all the fuss about books and reading? Here are three reasons why we are proud bookworms:

forest-and-feast-erin-gleeson1. Knowledge Boost

At Switchboard, we champion constant and continuous learning. Whether from digital or print sources, knowledge excites us. We highlighted a couple of must reads on a variety of topics, including The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson. Why not feed your brain and your stomach?





the-bigger-picture-writing-book2. Elevated Writing

Aside from expanding our vocabulary list, we can’t deny that exposure to well-crafted prose has a positive effect on how we string sentences together. We like to think reading books like The Bigger Picture makes us better writers by osmosis.







3. Escapism

The stress of looming deadlines and a barrage of emails takes a toll on us all. You can’t get more eco-friendly than being able to recharge wherever and whenever, with nothing more than a source of light and a book – like childhood favourite Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.





Although we won’t be posting our reading list as often, we invite you to follow us on Instagram and keep an eye out for what’s next on #SwitchboardReads. We’d also love to hear what your must-reads are. We’re always looking for titles to add to the ever-growing stacks on our bedside tables.

Switchboard is Growing: Wisdom from Navigating the Awkward Phase

So much for the dog days of summer. Our inboxes are bursting at the seams each morning, and we’ve all been hustling – signs that we’ve entered the growing pain phase of being a young business. Keeping to the theme of lessons learned, here are our top three takeaways from a year’s worth of growing – sometimes somewhat awkwardly.

  1. Practice openness

    Openness is all about asking the right questions and putting time aside to listen closely for the answer. Think about it: if you’re not asking the right questions, you may not be getting the feedback you need to improve performance or receiving adequate information to complete a project. Part of ‘driving communications strategies that get real results’ and ‘pushing the status quo’ (two things the Switchboard team is dedicated to doing) is being willing to move beyond the lowest-common-denominator of information-sharing – which can be quite hard in a fast-paced environment. It took a long time to find the right people to be part of our team, and we want to make sure everyone feels valued and supported. Creating a culture of openness is the best way to inspire a creative workspace, drive performance and maintain a high standard of work.

  1. Share the love

    When we underwent our rebrand from Kathleen Reid Consulting to Switchboard Public Relations, one of our goals was to improve our SEO. With help from our friends at Marwick Internet Marketing, we have seen Switchboard soar from page 20 to page four in search results for PR agencies in Vancouver. Not bad. Switchboard receives plenty of SEO and SEM requests, and although we as a team love the topic of SEO, it’s not our area of focus or expertise. It’s useful to know when work is best handled in-house – and when it’s better to refer a client or project to a trusted partner or agency. We have cultivated many positive relationships with top agencies in our city and have passed on great projects. We’ve found that turning down projects or referring them elsewhere ends up benefitting us in the long-run by facilitating meaningful new partnerships and relationships.

  1. Embrace process and streamline, streamline, streamline

    It’s hard to keep the forest in mind during the daily onslaught of rapidly approaching trees. Am I right? When processes like finance, project management and internal communications are streamlined, it frees up more time for the creative stuff that we’re good at – and that we’re most passionate about. Thanks to innovative tools such as Trello, Slack and FreshBooks, these mundane tasks are easier to complete. Sure, we still believe that giant wall calendars with rainbow Post-it notes are a (pretty) necessity in the office, but overall? Simpler. Is. Better.

Here’s a little secret for success in the growing pain phase: Confidently accept all forms of challenge. Embrace failure – just make sure you’re failing forward, and learning from your so-called mistakes. That’s it. That’s our formula for growth, and it seems to be working.

Seven Vancouver Staples to Boost Company Culture

At Switchboard we work hard to champion employee engagement and positive company culture. We use a number of tools to do this, both in-house and for clients. When we manage corporate events, business leaders often ask for go-to activities for strengthening teams and boosting morale. Do your team a favour, and skip the compulsory Hawaiian shirt day! Here are eight gems from our beautiful home-town.

  1. The Grouse GrindIf your company is looking to build supportive relationships and to promote a healthy lifestyle, the Grouse Grind is a classic. Let’s be honest – this climb is aggressive. In fact, it is often referred to as “mother nature’s stairmaster” and has been given a “difficult” level rating from popular B.C. hiking websites. Arriving at the top is an invigorating physical accomplishment, making it a great opportunity for team bonding. Keep in mind that this shouldn’t come as a surprise activity to anyone involved. Those with health considerations should be given ample time to prepare and opt out if necessary.
  2. Foodie Tours. Oh, to have the life of a full-time foodie… To get a taste of what it’s like to be a connoisseur, Vancouver Foodie Tours will take teams on guided tours through a collection of the city’s best restaurants. Since fine food has universal appeal, foodie tours are a no-brainer way to reward a hard-working team for a job well done (or for making it through a grueling project). Be sure to address allergies beforehand as the team should bond over sampling tapas, not learning how to use an EpiPen.
  3.  Brewery ToursTeam outings to the local breweries allow people to learn something new while socializing in a casual environment. For a day on the town, consider doing a circuit with Vancouver Brewery Tours. To avoid the logistical chaos of planning an excursion with a large team, consider inviting a craft beer guru, like a certified Cicerone from the “Barley’s Angels,” to your place of work for an in-house tasting session.
  4. Urban Scavenger Hunt. This urban scavenger hunt for young-at-heart adults is filled with clues and challenges that take you on a journey throughout downtown Vancouver. It’s a great way to see the city and engage in a little friendly competition with your workmates.
  5. Escape Rooms. An Escape Room is a live, interactive game where your team works with puzzles, quizzes and a collection of clues to get out of a confined area. Escape Rooms test your intellect, will, creativity and passion as a team. Choose from several located in the Lower Mainland and get ready for an innovative and intense experience.
  6. Kayak in Deep Cove. The ineffable feeling of parking your stresses at the shore is what draws such a range of people toward kayaking. Deep Cove is one of Vancouver’s most scenic locations, particularly when enjoyed from the water. In addition to kayak rentals, Deep Cove Kayak offers stand-up paddleboarding and surf-skiing, for an experience that’s as diverse as your team.
  7. Corporate Retreat. Why not turn the weekend getaway into a team experience? Eagle Valley Retreat is a seven-acre property, located in a beautiful setting just outside Whistler. The retreat is set up for customized events where groups can expand upon skills, build stronger relationships and share their vision for your business. Eagle Valley offers a variety of outdoor team-building exercises as well as individual cleanses and personal rejuvenation opportunities.