As a fully distributed company that helps others establish and maintain their remote workforces, working anywhere is both who we are and what we do.
For this reason, we know better than anyone the benefits of a remote workforce: better access to global talent, more flexibility for employees, and increased team productivity (to name a few). -ones). However, we still understand the value and importance of coming together.
For some teams, this may feel like a hybrid arrangement or regular in-person events. For others, a company retreat may be more appropriate.
At Velocity Global, we have maintained an annual corporate week where we invite every member of the global team to gather at our Denver headquarters to connect and celebrate the year’s accomplishments.
In addition to this annual celebration, we have seen some team members come together in small groups throughout the year to use our work from anywhere policy. This peer-led initiative has evolved into an ongoing initiative that we have named Global co-working retreats.
Co-working from Spain and Portugal
At our most recent Co-Work World Retreat, a group of Velocity Global teammates and their families came together to live, work together and explore Barcelona, Alicante and Lisbon.
“As with any co-working retreat, people have the option of coming for all or part,” says Mary Moessinger, our internal communications manager.
“The original destination was Barcelona, so a core group met there and then others joined for the Alicante part, with a smaller group going to Lisbon.”
At each location, the group stayed together in a large house where they shared meals, worked together during the week, and booked tourist activities on weekends.
“We tried to choose homes with lots of different common areas,” says Mary. “That way there were options when people had calls or wanted more privacy.”
For example, the Alicante property had various covered outdoor spaces with tables and chairs, a terrace, a swimming pool and various indoor spaces.
What made this even more manageable was the fact that everyone was sticking to different work schedules.
Depending on their circumstances, some people shifted to the new time zone entirely, while others opted to keep their start and end times to stay within their regular work hours at home.
Changing work hours also meant adjusting to more time at the pool, cafes, and wandering around town.
“I think the advantage of Velocity Global is that it offers great flexibility,” says Mary.
“Having control of your schedule makes it a bit easier to juggle being in an interesting new country you want to explore, doing your job, and meeting new people.”
Expansion of the Velocity Global range
It was the first retreat where the group extended invitations to family and friends.
“I knew I was being invited to something really important to my wife, and she was so excited about the opportunity to meet some of her colleagues,” says Justin Wauters, husband of one of our program associates. training, Davina Miller.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but it was amazing how quickly everyone made us feel at home and part of an extended family.”
Work while traveling
In addition to coworking, the group also took time out for sightseeing.
“We took a trip to a small village perched in the hills,” says Mary. “They had a lot of arts and crafts. So we spent the day going around the various stores.
There were also lots of meals together and even a night of flamenco.
“We had a paella one night where they came out with a huge barrel-sized dish which was amazing,” says Mary.
But there were also plenty of nights that were just as special.
“Because there were people from such different backgrounds and cultures in the same space, even just cooking dinner at home was an event,” Justin says.
“Having everyone choose something different to cook and share made every dinner so enjoyable, and seeing how grateful and respectful everyone was about the whole process was so memorable.”
Benefits of Retreats for Distributed Teams
“It’s really hard to replicate those in-person moments that you have in a more traditional work setting,” Mary says. “So periodically having that face-to-face time with people really strengthens those relationships.”
The effects of these intimate experiences are hard to quantify, but it’s obvious when you see them. Shared experiences build trust, which can mean better teamwork, loyalty, and a greater sense of coming together and working towards a common goal.
Mary is quick to point out that these connection points don’t need to be overly structured or planned.
“It’s the little moments that are part of everyday life. You know, go into the kitchen and get some food for yourself, and someone else walks in, so you offer to bring them some food too,” she says. “Just those little common courtesies that add to the feeling of being taken care of.”
Initiatives like Co-Work World allow the humanity of a team to come to the fore.
“Velocity Global employees are definitely the strength of the company,” says Mary. “And with Co-Work World Retreats, we take advantage of this element of agility that, although we all work from anywhere, we can also come together anytime.”