Captain's log, stardate d664.y37/AB
Company get-togethers are one of the best ways to keep your team engaged and highly motivated. It also helps to bond further between team members while having fun in a different environment.
Last month, we enjoyed our second company retreat, where we spent a few days in the beautiful city of Dublin.
As a lifestyle business, we invest heavily in our company culture. We want to be known for how we do things, rather than what we do. We actually wrote about it in our blog post We Are Not a Startup: We Are a Lifestyle Business (and We Love It).
Contrary to popular belief, remote teams are very engaged and enjoy fluid communication. In some remote companies, get-togethers are a frequent thing.
Every two months, we meet in Barcelona for a day or two for the Martian Days, which are on-site working days, featuring keynotes, workshops and all-hands sessions, wrapped up with a group activity or a dinner.
We also go to conferences like the EuRuKo or the Startup Grind summits around the world.
Yet the most unique time of the year is our company retreat. Last year, we spent a few days in Tenerife, and this year we've opted for Dublin.
The MarsBased team in Dublin
What did you do there?
All of us have different obligations back home and even come from different cities, as we're an officeless company. So even though the retreat was five days long, some members of our team could only make it for two.
Our Officeless Manager, Bego, presenting the new corporate identity
Therefore, we had to make the most of everyone's time. We minimised the number of work-related activities to just an all-hands session to share the company results & strategy, which we do at every Martian Day.
We presented our latest changes: the new logo & slogan, the Spanish website, the Startup Grind Andorra chapter, our newsletter and many other tools & processes we have adopted or improved in the company.
The Irish are well-known for being welcoming. We want to thank NDRC for having hosted us in their incredible offices and for the warm welcome to Dublin!
The MarsBased team at the NDRC offices
The day wouldn't have been complete without a group dinner eating traditional Irish food. We chose The Winding Stair, which delighted us with a delicious menu, and then we set out to see live music and enjoy a few pints of the local beverages.
The next days were a combination of sightseeing & relax. The sightseeing included a guided tour around Glendalough, or a walk around the enormous Phoenix Park, or the mandatory visits to the church of Saint Patrick and the Guinness Factory.
How can I organise one for my company?
Since a company retreat is a group thing, we wanted to give our employees the opportunity to not only decide where to go, but also to organise it.
We drew inspiration from the EuRuKo conference, where the attendees of the current edition can pitch their cities in a contest to organise the next year's edition, followed by a final voting of all the attendees.
We did the same: in one of our get-togethers, every one of us was entitled to come with a proposal (including destination, program, dates, and so on), pitch it to the rest of the team, and at the end of the session, we voted. The winner would then be involved in the organising committée.
A shot of Irish whiskey in the very windy Glendalough - Sláinte!
As a business owner, one has to analyse the impact of each and every decision in the company.
We can definitely feel the motivation boost coming from group activities like these retreats or attending conferences together. As an all-remote team, we don't get a lot of facetime together, but when we do, it's much more intense and we bond further. There should be some scientific evidence to back this assumption somewhere.
These perks are also part of the benefits package of working in our company, and to some extent they increase the likelihood to hire new employees, and to reduce the attrition (we lose less than an employee per year).
However, I think that the most remarkable thing is that the idea of organising company retreats was pitched to us by one of our employees. He came up with a plan, and we decided to go for it. We're very receptive to trying new things which can help the company.
This is my favourite time of the year. Literally, when this retreat ended, I began counting down to next year's.