Written by: Nicole Smith, Founder + CEO
How do you deepen company culture and create a sense of belonging in a remote-first world? Many companies are wrestling with this challenge as employees no longer come into a shared office space every day. This is even more difficult when onboarding brand new team members – primarily with Slack and Zoom. One solution is hosting a company retreat! It’s an opportunity to create shared memories, build community and get everyone excited and aligned about the future.
Our company (like many) abruptly went fully remote in March 2020. Prior to that, we had a fun, highly social work environment in a beautiful heritage building in downtown Victoria, Canada. Relationships organically grew over coffee shop dates, happy hours, spin classes, and team bonding activities like lunchtime board games, 2000-piece puzzles, and Prosecco Fridays. When our office closed, we also downsized from 21 to 4 employees; the pause in global travel shut down our sales overnight. Over the last two years, as we slowly (very, very slowly) saw business recover, we leaned into building a remote team that now spans from Honolulu to Montreal.
Today we have eighteen people (eleven of whom joined in the last 10 months!). We have gotten together over virtual events, Zoom trivia and online game nights, but knew it was time to invest in a corporate retreat getaway to meet IRL. We chose the beautiful setting of Whistler, BC for a 2-½ day getaway.
When planning our offsite, I wanted our getaway to be a mix of 50% fun and 50% work-related ideas. In this post, I share all the retreat planning steps Flytographer took, from setting goals, to planning logistics, to specific programming, to team-building activities, keeping the power of designing “memorable moments” in mind.