It was billed as a "staff day," but the agenda topics were far from the "how-we-can-do-our-jobs-better" category you might expect.

The 200 employes of University Research Corporation could attend workshops in such self-help areas as personal finance, "dealing with change in our lives," stress on the job, "self-care in health" and how to make a down payment on a new house.

Why would a company go to the expense of holding such a day-long affair at the Washington Hilton Hotel?

It gives the staff, says president Gary Jonas, "an opportunity to step back from the day-to-day work and prepare for the year ahead. To stretch our minds a bit and get to know our colleagues."

Another annual event is "Kids Day," when employes take their youngsters to work for a half-day to let them see what their parents do at the office.

New people in the firm, says Jonas, 35, "are always very impressed" by these staff events. The 15-year-old company helps institutions plan and operate health, educational and other human-services programs.

"Our firm was founded on the new-careers concept," says Jonas. "People work better when treated maturely and given reasonable resonsibility." These events, he likes to think, are "typical of the style we are trying to create in the company."