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The "Good Kind of Drug", or the Power of Team Retreats


We are back and we are high on our very own medicine.


At the end of January, our team got together for 5 days of team retreat in nature and the renewed energy we felt as we got back to our homes got some of us to even join a gym!


From three, we have now grown into a team of 13 and we are looking to hire new talents to join us. It seems like we are feeding the fire right, and it keeps on growing.

While most of us are based in Italy, a few of us are spread across Europe, just like our clients' team. As much as we have perfected our remote work system, meeting in person is always a breath of fresh air.


a team picture in italy on the steps of a church
Just 9.5 of our 13 team members


ITALY, WHERE ELSE?


It is no secret that Italy is our favorite retreat location. We met in a beautiful oasis of peace in the Sicilian countryside, and immersed ourselves in the culture of the Valle di Noto, enjoying the winter sun and the delicious local food.


Together we took the time to reflect on the year 2023 and brainstorm on the upcoming 2-year strategy, re-aligning on the company goals and company-wide projects.

We did that by sitting down and working hard together but also by going for walks, watching the sea, meditating, working out, cooking together, as well as attending a painting workshop.


This Sicilian week was a turning point for the team to deepen relationships while brainstorming in a refreshing and stimulating context and bringing new energy. We now feel ready to tackle 2024!


an italian harbor
Chasing the winter sun



DEEPER CONNECTION, CLEARER SHARED VISION


Some of us were meeting in person for the first time following a year of exponential growth at Campfire. It can feel a bit strange but we quickly realized that having worked online together for months helped break the ice and feel connected much faster.


working remotely can already create some kind of togetherness. Meeting in person creates strength and lifts up the team to a next level.

Truly getting to know each other as "humans" was one of the key takeaways for most of the participants. It made it much easier to align the vision and OKR strategy while sitting in front and next to each other at the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table every day.


Seeing the "human" part about everyone in the team made us feel more connected and less overwhelmed by the things that still need to be done, as they are shared among everyone. 

Team retreats for remote teams is a great way to confirm that you are all aligned in sharing the "stress and workload", just as much as the mission and vision.


two colleagues by the sea
Below the screen: Seeing the humans have legs



BEYOND LISTENING, CO-CREATING


The beauty of well-designed and facilitated retreats is that they are not just another opportunity to pass on top-down information. They are deeply participative.

They are a forum for communication of all kinds.

It was an opportunity to take the time to dive into topics the rush of everyday life does not allow to ponder upon during our dailies or weeklies. We took time to talk about the company itself, our roles, the strategy but also what we did well and not so well in 2023.

We could share our doubts and concerns in a space that felt safe and supportive.



I felt we deeply embodied our Motto “Feel what´s possible” during the retreat

Workwise, among the myriad of activities, the 6 working geniuses workshop seems to have been everyone's favorite.

It was a great opportunity to learn something new(or validate what we already knew) about ourselves and see differences and similarities with other members of the team's way of working. Most importantly it helped acknowledge where potential frustration lay and to get clarity on what one wants to focus on.


On a more personal level, spending more time together was a good reminder that we all come from different languages and cultures (Germany, Italy, Poland, France...) which creates a beautiful, fun, and inspiring kind of "chaos" we should not forget to nurture.


a painting workshop
The inspiring kind of chaos



SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?


Reading this you might thing it is all a bit too perfect. 10+ people living together for 4 days in the sun, enjoying each other's company, good food and productive times. Honestly, we felt it writing this piece as well.


Having hosted countless retreats the past years, we are well aware nothing is ever perfect.


No challenge no growth, right?


Of course there were challenges. We are all humans after all. Seeing each other daily gives many more opportunities to get on each other's nerves than through screens. The most challenging part was probably to always be surrounded by people, from breakfast until night. As a remote and hybrid team, most of us are used to our work routines, and having a pre-designed work & social agenda for the week could at times feel a little bit overwhelming.

Thankfully, as retreat experts, we knew when to take some well-deserved breaks, and the location we had chosen truly allowed for individual rest spaces.

Another interesting challenge with teams that get along great is knowing when it is time to get serious and when it is ok to laugh it off. Like pretty much everything else in life, clear communication is key here.



a team starting a bonfire
Feeding the fire


THE END OF A TEAM RETREAT IS JUST THE BEGINNING


Quite frankly, we are deeply proud of what we have accomplished in a year. And this gathering, almost exactly a year to the day since our first Campfire Team retreat was a great way to acknowledge the progress made.


However, these moments are like putting the key in the ignition.

Now the real work starts. The challenge is to not immediately fall back into the routine of our daily tasks but to keep in mind everything that was learned, shared,

and celebrated during the retreat.


This week confirmed what we kind of felt already: we are a pretty awesome team and we can face all the upcoming challenges together with trust and a lot of resilience.


a team retreat in the italian sun
Bringing some of this Home



KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM OUR TEAM TO YOURS:


  • Pick authentic venues that create a completely different environment

  • Beautiful landscapes are important for "breathtaking moments of connections".

  • As much as you can, allow for pockets of spontaneity and serendipity.

  • Accept there will be frustrations, push through

  • If possible, end on a Friday - Give your team the weekend to process (and recover).








 



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