Bree Zimmerman has been the Assistant to the Operations Team at ACET, Inc., since 2021. Being hired in the midst of the pandemic, she began her role at ACET entirely remote. When ACET leadership began planning for a hybrid return to the office in the winter of 2022-23, Bree was tapped to coordinate those efforts.
ACET’s return to office was a large endeavor: when the pandemic sent everyone home to work remotely in the spring of 2020, ACET had 6 staff members. By return-to-office time two years later, the number of staff had almost tripled to 18. Returning to the exact same offices was not an option, so CEO Stella SiWan Zimmerman made the decision to move from a smaller upstairs space to a larger downstairs area in the building.
Bree’s first tasks as the return-to-office coordinator included overseeing the transformation of the main-floor space to a welcoming and high-functioning office environment. This included demo-ing and moving walls, selecting appliances and countertops for a kitchen, fitting out the conference room with the latest technology, and overseeing the selection and installation of carpet, furniture, paint, etc. “I learned a lot on the fly about every aspect of remodeling like choosing appliances, getting quotes for Stella to review for materials and construction, and so much more,” Bree recalls. “It was a whirlwind but so exciting to see the space transform and be ready for people to start to come to the office on whatever schedule works best for them.”
Although there were the usual small delays with construction, ACET staff began to work in person by spring 2023. Bree coordinated a return-to-office event on May 24, 2023. ACET colleagues who had never worked together physically—and some who had, pre-pandemic—got the chance to connect over a catered lunch and engaging activities including employee bingo. “It’s just great to see people being able to enjoy the space,” Bree says.