Team Retreats and Remote Companies: How We Craft Successful Retreats at Quiltt
Quiltt recently held its second Team Retreat in beautiful Breckenridge, CO. Despite being a small team; we brought together team members from California, New Jersey, New York, Germany, Rhode Island, Texas, and one who is a digital nomad.
Team Retreats and Remote Companies
Despite having strong opinions on the matter, I try not to pay attention to the incessant social media debates about “remote” vs “in-person” workplaces. Instead, I recognize that there are many obvious (and not-so-obvious) trade-offs involved in being fully remote and that for us the pros continue to greatly outweigh the cons. I also recognize that having painstakingly recruited a team of mature and independent professionals who thrive in a remote environment, one of my most important responsibilities is to create a productive, collaborative, and happy work environment for our team.
While our team members do their best work working on their terms and from their chosen location, it is undeniable that physical interaction is the most universally effective way to create and sustain meaningful relationships built on trust and shared principles. For us, this means that a critical element of running an all-remote company is to create time and space for our entire team to gather in one place, in person.
This year, we were coming off our seed raise announcement and had just onboarded several new team members, so we felt a special responsibility to put together a great retreat.
We planned our retreat as a long weekend on the tail end of Fintech DevCon, a fantastic developer-focused fintech conference hosted by the great folks at Moov.io. Organizing our retreat in Colorado had several benefits:
- Most of our engineering-heavy team was already in one place.
- Denver is home to a major international airport, simplifying travel logistics for everyone.
- Colorado is home to some of the most beautiful nature the US has to offer, a relatively short drive away from Denver.
Most of us live in major cities, so the change of scenery, especially for those having spent a stimulating few days attending Fintech DevCon, proved to be both relaxing and invigorating.
Keeping Your Ship Steady
We were careful not to over-program the retreat, mixing several team-wide activities with ample amounts of unstructured time for small groups to go on games, hikes, meals, and just hang out.
The overwhelming favorite team-wide activity we did plan was a 4-hour whitewater rafting trip a few towns over. The 90-minute drive through gorgeous mountains, old mining towns, and sprawling farms was a highlight on its own.
Most of us had not rafted before and learned that few things build trust better than a bunch of newbies working together trying not to flip over into the crisp Arkansas river. Learning to quickly row together in the same direction and away from giant boulders popping up in front of your vessel felt like a pretty appropriate startup bonding activity.
With our 2022 Team Retreat in the books, we feel like a stronger and better-coordinated crew, eagerly awaiting the next one. If you’re interested in joining us, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.