As a remote company it’s not often that all of us get together in the same physical space. For large client projects or Dreamforce a few of us will be in the same location but mostly we just see each other via Google Hangout. Until last weekend there were a few employees I hadn’t even met in person after working at Red Argyle for over a year! Remote working has a long list of advantages and we are really good at collaborating remotely but sometimes its nice to be in the same place at the same time. That is why once a year we have our Red Argyle retreat. For one long weekend we get every employee in the same place for some amazing team building and strategic company planning.
We chose to meet in the Finger Lakes since we have a hub of employees in New York and rented a beautiful house on Cayuga Lake. Since the Finger Lakes is wine country we took a tour of Finger Lakes Distilling and sampled some of their finest beverages. I think everyone enjoyed this a little more than the classic trust fall team building activity.
Being in the same place allowed us to have some very important strategic conversations surrounding the company and our goals for the future. It also gave us a chance to just get to know one another on a more personal level. If you’re going to be spending 8 hours a day working with people you might as as well become friends. This weekend gave us the opportunity to do that over rounds of Cards Against Humanity, Munchkin, Ladder Golf, Oculus Rift and food endless amounts of food.
One of the things I’ve always found impressive about Tom and Garry is their desire to make Red Argyle a company people want to work for. I’ve never worked for a company that took such stock into what their employees thought. I see this in our day to day work but it was even more evident this weekend as we talked about what each of us wants out of and for the company in the future. It was very empowering.
Here’s what everyone had to say about the retreat:
Garry – “Work hard play hard”, but I like to think of it more like “Work fun play fun”. This was illustrated by the way our team accomplished a ton of client work, strategic planning, and just having a good time with each other. It’s great to see everyone laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It’s easy to forget you’re surrounded by coworkers, and more like you’re surrounded by friends.”
Matt – “It was fun but kinda weird. I would periodically just kind of have to boggle at the idea that this is work and these are my coworkers. These aren’t people I’ve known for years. Best experience at a team building event that I’ve ever had.”
Ryan – “It was great to finally meet everyone and hang out in person. I especially enjoyed watching everyone’s reaction to the Oculus Rift roller coaster demo. I can’t wait for the next get-together!”
Levi – “Getting together with everyone at the retreat was great. Despite working remotely and having only ever talked to many of my coworkers over video chat, our in-person conversations were just an extension of our day-to-day discussions.”
Tom – “We took advantage of every single minute that we were together. In the course of three days, we talked about project and company strategy, ate meals prepared by the whole team and spent lots of time at the lake on the dock, in the water, and next to a campfire. I’m thankful that schedules and logistics worked out and and everyone was able to enjoy a summer weekend in the Finger Lakes.”
How do you create team building remotely?
We are always looking for ways to improve. Do you work for a remote company? How does your company try to foster team building? Do you have events that get you together in person?