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What happens when ‘Arka Day’ goes virtual?

by Devin Cook, on September 14, 2020

Wait, what is 'Arka Day' exactly?

One day a year, we celebrate the founding of our company by getting together and playing games that help us bond both as a team, and as friends.

In 2019, our 35 or so employees coordinated a few car pools and headed up to Camp Wavus in Jefferson, Maine for a day outside filled with tons of exciting games, delicious food, and quality time together.

arkatechture arka day camp wavus

As you can see, social distancing wasn't exactly a 'thing' in 2019.

One of the games our hosts at Wavus setup for us was getting people across two single boards while we huddled close together on platforms. If one person touches the lava (well, grass) then that person is out.

Well... 2020 is a whole different beast, so we had to get creative to celebrate Arka Day in a new way.

A virtual way.

Competition is the Name of the Game

At Arkatechture, everything is a competition.

Sudoku puzzle for bonus points. Sounds easy enough, right? Not so fast.

How about we throw that puzzle into a Python script that automatically solves the puzzle and that way we'll sneak in a few extra points. No one will ever know.

Wait... two other teams already beat us to it? NO way! The competition is really heating up.

After splitting up into 6 teams, we reviewed the scoring rubric to discover the winning formula:

  • 5-Hour Hackathon (60 points)
    • Creativity
    • Technical Difficulty
    • Data Visualization
    • Team Unity
    • Presentation
  • Scavenger Hunt (10 points)
  • Pop Quizzes (10 points)
  • Superlative Challenges (10 points)

Whichever team comes out ahead at the end of the day claims the coveted bragging rights and miniature-size trophy for the next 365 days until Arka Day comes back again next year.

5-Hour Hackathon

The bulk of our time spent this Arka Day are in our teams building small proof of concepts. The topic can be anything, as long as it's focused around data.

Our team came up with a project that's been eating away at us for some time. Five hours wasn't much to work with for such a big challenge, but we put our heads together to find a solution.

We decided to answer the question: "How do we calculate 'drive times' on the fly in Tableau?" if we assume the following:

  1. We have a large list of addresses
  2. We want to find the fastest way for each address to reach one of multiple destinations (say, branches of a credit union for example)

Geo-coding addresses for drive times is a challenge that involved multiple steps before reaching a usable proof of concept for our initiative.

six steps to calculating drive times in tableau

drive times

Selfie Scavenger Hunt

One easy activity to host with your remote teams is a scavenger hunt.

For this one, each team had to take a selfie and post it into a Google Spreadsheet for each of the 10 categories below:

  • 2 Arka swag items
  • Animal
  • Something from another country
  • Something older than you
  • Holiday decoration thats NOT Christmas
  • A sports jersey
  • Something from High School
  • Lunch
  • House plant
  • WFH setup

arka day scavenger hunt

Staying Connected, Whatever It Takes

September marks the 6-month milestone of working remotely after COVID-19 made landfall and headlines throughout the US. That's a long time for us to be apart when we're used to the noise and buzz of an open & collaborative work area.

There are some workplaces where this much competition can create too much friction.

At the end of the day, challenge and competition really do bring us closer and it brings out the best in all of us. Here at Arkatechture, we strive to take on the challenges that no one else will.

Interested in working at Arkatechture? Check out our Company & Careers page to see the latest openings and see if you'd be a great fit too!

Topics:Culture