Do your remote team members meet in person?
We have an annual, week-long meeting (lovingly named AGConf, inspired by the geeky conferences we endeavour to regularly attend), where we all gather to work and play together. We also have occasional mini conferences, during which individual teams gather to work together in a shared physical space.
Twice a year, the entire company gathers in a destination travel location for a week. We call these “onsites.” This is our opportunity to look back at the last six months and plan for what is ahead. We also take the time to explore our surroundings, volunteer together, and share gratitude for one another over some fantastic dinners.
Spending time with the team face-to-face is invaluable. The bonds we create during onsites are strong — but our meaningful connections do not come from the onsites alone. We consciously work to develop these relationships throughout the year.
Yes. Our leadership team plus a few select people meet yearly for strategic planning in person and sometimes more often as needed.
We have also gotten opportunistic in the past and have clumps of people in a geographic area meet. We’re trying to get smarter about this. Even though we work in airfare, it still can feel expensive to fly those last 10 percent of people to a meeting when they are far away.
I’d say 20-30 percent of our colleagues also meet on their own each year because they like each other. We don’t track this.
No, not unless they require it or volunteer to. We are able to communicate through virtual means to avoid asking our CSPs to interrupt their normal daily routine. We do have an annual holiday office party and usually one other office event that all employees are invited to attend, if they can. We also have volunteer committees that some of our remote staff are members of and they do attend meetings in office when they can.
Our remote teams have many opportunities to meet in person. First and foremost, all of our new consultants in the United States visit Indianapolis within their first two months of employment for what we call Consulting 101. This is a workshop where new hires come together and learn about Appirio, our business, culture, and methodologies. In addition to this, many of our consultants meet in person when working onsite at our customers’ offices. While visiting, the teams often have the chance to go out to dinner after work and spend time together. For our non-consulting employees the in-person cadence may vary but most teams are able to get together as a full group at least twice a year.
Yes, twice a year we pull every corporate team member together for a few days where we are inspired by guest speakers, encouraged by our own leaders and teammates, and celebrated by those we call friends, family, and coworkers. Additionally, we have quarterly on-sites in smaller groups to collaborate and work together and build unity.
Yes, our entire team meets up once every year in the spring in a different part of the world for a week-long retreat. Past retreat locations have been Hawaii, Madrid, and Singapore.
Individual teams (i.e., Marketing, Engineering, Leadership) also meet up once a year on their own so that each team can continue creating great relationships with the colleagues they work most closely with.
With this system, the team at Buffer should see their colleagues at least twice a year, and if they live in a bigger city (like New York), it might be much more frequent.
We just started doing quarterly management meetups that allow us to align priorities. We also do an annual company-wide meetup. These annual meetups act as a retreat to review annual priorities and goals as well as socialize and general team building. On top of these structured meetups, team members will unite at different times throughout the year. For example, our development team recently all went to ElixirConf together.
We do! Twice a year, we gather the team for weeklong retreats, so we can both work together and get to spend quality time getting to know one another outside of a work environment. Because our company always grows between retreats, it’s also a great opportunity for new hires to get comfortable with the team, and develop a rapport with their coworkers!
Our company’s growth has also meant that individual teams within the company are expanding, so we’re now encouraging those internal teams to arrange smaller, shorter coworking trips, as well. It gives them the time and opportunity to strengthen their own bonds, and to focus on their own priorities without budgeting time for company-wide activities, too.
Absolutely. We have some very structured events such as week-long annual engineering team meetups. Many of our remote team members also come by headquarters in Palo Alto on an annual (or more often) basis so they are able to build stronger relationships with teammates and see our operations happening live.
Also, wherever we’re traveling, we look for opportunities to stop by each other’s home cities. It’s lots of fun to meet people in-person who you’ve been working with for months, and additionally you get lots of insider tips on great cities all over the world.
No, not all of them. There’s an industry conference that some of us attend twice per year. The East Coast show is in New York City, which is expensive to bring a large team to, but the West Coast show is in Las Vegas and we rent an entire house and bring a good portion of the team together.
We meet in person once a year at our all company offsite. Last year we went to a resort in Austin and this year we’re going to Colorado!
We also give each team the opportunity to get together once a year at a location of their choosing for a team offsite.
Individually, if our remotes want to come see us at HQ, we cover the cost of the flight or hotel once a year. If we’re asking someone to come in for work reasons, we put them up for the full week. This happens typically in the case of a remote employees first week – we bring the new employee and his/her team to the office for training.
Yes! Every fall, we gather for our annual “All Hands” meetup with our entire team. We started doing these meetups in 2013, and they have become essential to our growth as a team. For some employees, All Hands is the only time they’ll ever meet certain team members in person, so we try to encourage new conversations and interaction between departments. It’s a good mix of company-related collaboration and fun activities—we’ve done scavenger hunts, bowling nights, and improv comedy, to name a few. Additionally, we’ve started conducting department-specific All Hands to create this environment halfway through the year.
We get the whole company together for a summit each year, and various teams within the company meet in person at different times throughout the year too. Combined with a steady flow of people visiting the offices for various reasons, there ends up being plenty of opportunity to hang out with our colleagues in person.
We’ve found this to be vital especially as we’ve grown. You can get a long way with just online communication, but if you can build quality relationships in real-life between the people at your company, then that makes a huge difference when they disperse and go back to being distributed. It means that even when you’re remote, you no longer just see someone as an avatar—you’ve build up some background context and empathy for that person and that means you’ll be much better at working together and helping each other out. If you can effectively do that on a company-wide scale, then working remotely becomes far less isolating.
When we were a little smaller, it was several years before we got around to meeting up in person. Nowadays, we couldn’t imagine doing it any differently. We have many small localised and more informal meet-ups (perhaps 2 or 3 people travelling to meet up), which happen quite often, perhaps even every couple of weeks. Then we also have a much more major team-wide meetup, at least once a year, which we vote on and plan in much more detail. Meetups in the past have happened in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Argentina, Brazil and Croatia, and we like to make a big deal and organise an amazing trip. It’s fantastic for team morale and every time we’ve met up, we’ve found ourselves that much closer by the end of the trip.
We encourage employees to get together often, whether that’s a result of some personal traveling, a conference all members of a department or team are attending, or otherwise. As a company, we’re very receptive to a team’s request to meet for a retreat or team building activity. We’ll have several team members in and around the New York City area meeting up in December, and Boston-area team members met recently as well. Our entire sales team met earlier this year for a retreat, and we sent the dev team to a conference recently as well. We want team members to meet as often as is feasible for them.
Every year, in multiple locations globally, we have official and casual meet-ups for teachers and staff. We also routinely invite teachers to visit China. The parties get bigger every year!
We only do one formal meeting each year, a 4-day annual retreat that tackles some operations-level work, but is mostly for play and social time. Various work groups get together informally during our retreat, including a day where project managers meet to talk process and developers plan product sprints.
We have a hub of team members based in Vancouver who work together frequently. Outside of that, the rest comes naturally. Outside of our Jungle Camp retreats, many of the team members travel and end up spending time in the same country during parts of the year. People take the opportunity to meet up and work together whenever this happens. It’s not required, but we’re a close-knit team that enjoys spending time together so we take the opportunity where possible.
For team members who work close to one another or in the same city, we usually meet up about once a week. When we bring on new and exciting inventory, we often go cowork out of it as a team. That way we can get a feel for the new space and develop some team camaraderie. Plus we can answer any questions the new venue has while we’re there and start building up our relationship with the venue.
We have an all company summit every year where the entire organization gets together for 3+ days. Regional team members are encouraged to cowork and meet whenever possible to stay connected. On a project level, the team is also encouraged to spend some coworking time together during any client site visits.
Yes, we meet in person to work together once a year, or whenever we can. Our first event was in Malaga in 2013, and then we met in Tenerife, Porto, Cyprus, and Split. We don’t know yet when or where our next event will take place. You can check out this blog post about our most recent event in 2017 in Split, Croatia. Also, smaller groups meet in WordCamps, especially WordCamp Europe.
Our central New York office serves as a hub for remote workers and team members who are in the office every day. We accommodate any remote team members who may want to travel into the office for a meeting or just to be in that social setting with their coworkers. We also organize corporate retreats, which build camaraderie but also offer opportunities for face-to-face collaboration. These take place a few times a year in a different city, so everyone is meeting up and exploring a new place.
Yes we have regular company retreats because we understand that nothing beats face-to-face contact for getting to know people and helping to build trust and strong relationships. There are many options for getting people together – team and company meet-ups, for example. The money saved from not having to lease expensive office space should more than offset the expense of getting your teams together, and will go much further toward creating amazing memories and building strong, long-lasting team camaraderie.
Our Remote Team members have an opportunity each year to meet physically together once a year at a Haus. Haus is a Remote Year term we use to designate an event where people come together from their remote locations in order to develop as a group in ways related to both business and personal development.
We try to get everyone into our New York office at least once a year for a holiday party. Folks who live close often meet once a week for what we call ‘swam days’. Everyone comes in, works together, has lunch together, and gets their fill of human contact. All of this is strictly optional.
We have two kinds of meetups that enable team members to meet in person periodically. When the company was smaller we would get the whole team together on a quarterly basis. Now that we have grown, we’ve pared back to 2 all-team meetings per year. Smaller teams (Sales & Marketing, Development, etc.) will also hold their own meetup(s) 1-3 times per year.
We are proponents of team projects so no one person is out there working on their own. With onsite Customer engagements, we’re afforded great opportunities for team get-togethers and bonding. Many members of our team go out of their way to meet up if they’re traveling through someone’s neighborhood.
Every few years we hold an event called “SitePen Unplugged”, where we all head out somewhere for a week and partake in some relaxation time. We met last year for some low-key whitewater rafting!
We don’t require it, but we do have hubs of team members in New York and Florida, and try to get together and cowork as often as possible. Whenever we’re in town for a work conference or even a vacation, we make it a point to grab coffee together. Next on our wishlist is to visit one of our colleagues that just moved to Italy!
Yes, we try to meet once or twice per year. Usually we do it in smaller groups as it’s hard to get everyone together since we’re spread out across the globe.
In person meetings are important, but we often remark how unproductive it’d be for us to meet more than twice per year. For the most part, our roadmap is so strong that in person meetings tend to just pile more ideas on top of an already sizable queue of work. That said, most of our best ideas still come from us hanging out in person but we’re pretty happy about our ability to generate a solid action plan with limited face time.
We meet up at least once a year for a Company Retreat. It’s a “no spouse/significant other” event. The format really is conducive to team bonding. The Leadership Team met up in February for a Corporate Leadership Training Retreat. It was a huge success and everyone walked away reenergized about the business and were assigned actionable items to continue working through. Check out our blog post on that retreat. Our entire company will meet up in November for a similar experience of working and learning and team bonding.
We were meeting together about once or twice a month in person. Now we will probably shoot for about twice a year to get everyone together. I also go over to John’s house once a week to work in person on product. It’s nice for us to be able to do this. We’ve found it’s a nice routine to have 4 days to just focus on cranking out work (design, code, etc.). But then on Friday, we get together and usually either brainstorm or maybe tweak a release of a new feature before it goes out live.
Twice a year, the entire company gathers for a week-long retreat where we laugh, learn, review and plan. Even though we haven’t seen each other in person for six months, it’s like seeing old friends and the excitement and joy is contagious.
Smaller sub-teams (developers, product teams, management) sometimes get together in person to meet as well. Over the years, we’ve actually gotten so good at working remotely that we’ve found less need to meet in person. Meeting in person is now mainly about bonding and connecting personally, and less about needing to get specific things done.
YES. This is a must to familiarize people at first and learn to trust each-other. Especially in the forming phases we’ve asked for all European employees to get together with others for roughly a week a month. For intercontinental travel, it is more like a trip across the Ocean every quarter.
For group gatherings in new places we actually built a tool on the data we have about the world: try Teleport Flock to just say where your people are, and we’ll calculate what’s the flight & housing optimal place for you to get together.
We don’t require it, but we certainly encourage it. We just initiated a new exciting program to incentivize our employees to get together socially. One of the best perks of working virtually is the ability to work from anywhere, and many of our team members love to travel. We have employees located all over the country, so in order to encourage them to get together when they travel, we reimburse a dinner, a concert, or activity- anything they want, as long as they send us a picture of their activity. There is a lot of excitement around this initiative and we hope this will encourage everyone to get together socially and form bonds that make work more fun and collaborative.
From a work perspective, we make frequent use of video chats on Skype or Google Hangouts which does feel more personal than an email or phone call. In addition, I will often meet my colleague who lives in the area at a coffee shop to work together.
We get together every three months for three to seven days, changing the location almost every time. While there are things that can’t be postponed, we don’t usually perform daily operations during retreats in order to make the most out of that time together. During the retreat, there are no boundaries between groups: we discuss together, brainstorm, and, yes, also have lots of fun.
All of our events are optional, but yes we have a lot of in person events.
We have a very active community that organizes events all around the world on an almost daily basis. We’ve also had bigger retreats for core team members to get together every so often in places like Thailand, Africa, Argentina, Brazil, etc., which are incredible and always very fun.
Many of our team members travel a lot as well and are constantly taking trips together, visiting each other, going to conferences together, etc. For example, right now some of our team members who are based in Eastern Europe are planning a trip together to Brazil to visit another group of colleagues in their hometown there. Combined trips like that are pretty common here.
We have never all met in person! As the CEO I have met almost everyone working on the project, apart from some of the engineers, but I am the hub in the wheel. We have though met virtually on Skype calls, so this almost counts!
We meet at various times throughout the year at conferences and retreats. The schedule is constantly evolving based on team needs, but the one constant is the all hands meet-up once per year. At the annual “Grand Meetup” we have the opportunity to share handshakes, work together in person, and maintain our sense of the company’s growth.
We have had conversations with team members at other remote working companies (some of them big) and, while the company offers remote working, they end up flying around the country so much that it has a real negative impact on their quality of life. So we try to create opportunities to meet in person or attend industry conferences, but we make sure that doing that does not consume too much of our team’s time.
We host weekly meetups for all remote workers living in or visiting the Portland area — and anyone we’re working with is invited to join us for any meetup. As we grow, we’d like to incorporate periodic gatherings for everyone, wherever they are at the time.
Our core team in Portland meets fairly often in person.
There are many different ways that our team members ultimately meet some of each other in person:
- At conferences that we send them to
- At X-Team region-specific events (a few held last year in Mexico, Ireland and Poland)
- Meeting with their mentors who live in the same region
- Our clients will fly them out and they’ll work together in person
- Organized trips for traveling or fitness that they put together themselves
- “Hey I think I just saw you walking in the street…are you in San Diego right now?” 🙂
In 2016, we’ll also be kicking off a series of hacker houses around the world in exotic locations where X-Teamers can come and work and live together for a month.