Home > Companies Q&A > Managing Remotely > Do your remote team members meet in person?

    Do your remote team members meet in person?

  • Formstack

    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.

     4 votes |
  • OnTheGoSystems

    We hold an annual meeting once a year somewhere in the world where we all meet in person. For us, this is a nice opportunity to connect personally and form bonds that make work more fun and collaborative. Building quality relationships in real-life makes a huge difference and positively influences our teamwork throughout the year.

     4 votes |
  • Toptal

    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.

     3 votes |
  • GitHub, Inc.

    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.

     2 votes |
  • Automattic

    Yes, our teams meet 1-2 times a year as a team and work together, somewhere in the world. Then, we have the entire company get together once a year and people usually do projects or work with colleagues they don’t usually interact with, and in general just get to know each other.

     1 vote |
  • Chargify

    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.

     1 vote |
  • Groove

    We’re planning our first retreat now 🙂

     1 vote |
  • TeamSnap

    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.

     1 vote |
  • Acceleration Partners

    As a whole company we have bi-weekly video calls every other week and we get together in-person 2x a year for all company meetings.

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  • AgileBits

    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.

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  • Aha!

    The entire team gets together twice a year at a “destination” location for a few days. We pick destinations that allow us to feel productive and relaxed in tandem as a team. Most of us love to be outside, so we often pick locations that inspire us through their natural beauty. We spend these meetings working alongside each other, sharing meals, celebrating successes, and looking out at our goals. It is important at these meetings to create both connections cross-functionally and within the various groups (e.g. Marketing). We also set aside plenty of time for getting outside.

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  • American Express

    Our home-based team members are often separated by hundreds of miles. We rely on technology to bring our people together and harness the power of personality that is so important to our Relationship Care culture.

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  • AnswerConnect

    Yes. We hold regular day-long events, called MeetUps, to give our employees in different areas a chance to gather, learn about our mission, get to know each other better, and have fun. Various company leaders join these events in person and by video call.

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  • Appen

    Each year we hold a company meeting and try to gather together as many remote teams as possible. These meetings last a few days and provide the perfect space to help further foster our connections and teamwork.

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  • Appirio

    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.

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  • Authentic Form & Function

    Typically our partners will connect more frequently for business meetings across the country throughout a year, and our greater team (if not associated with those meetings) meet to connect as a group twice a year.

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  • Big Universe, Inc.

    Currently, we meet on an as-needed basis (e.g. once/twice per year), However, similar to Automattic (the WordPress folks), we would like to meet much more often and also have a regular annual gathering.

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  • Blossom

    It’s not a regular thing, but we do meet whenever possible (e.g. when somebody is in town as part of a holiday). No one has actually met our Australian team member in person yet, but this will change when he comes to Europe in Spring.

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  • Bright!Tax

    Some of our team members happen to live nearby, so we meet up once a month or so for lunch or coffee. Many of our other associates I’ve never met in person though, despite having worked closely together for years.

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  • Canonical

    At any point across the year there will be teams attending ‘sprints’ in locations across the globe.  Sprints provide an architect for groups to come together for training, working sessions and valuable team social time.

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  • Codebusters, Inc.

    Yes, whenever we can. Typically 3-5 times a year.

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  • Collage.com

    We meet in person every three or four months, except for during our busy holiday shopping season.

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  • DataStax

    It is informal and unscheduled, but sometimes employees living near each other will get together for a lunch or dinner.  We also have our yearly company Sales Kickoff Meeting and Cassandra Summit where most remote employees fly to our company headquarters in Silicon Valley.

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  • DevriX

    We meet some of our team members at events, but we don’t have annual meetups yet.

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  • Edgar

    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.

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  • Eyeo GmbH

    Minimum twice a year for summer and Christmas Event

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  • Five Q

    The full team meets together at least twice a year. There are meetups by various teams based on need and geography throughout the year.

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  • Fog Creek Software

    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.

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  • Goodway Group

    We encourage regular regional meet-ups. For instance, everyone from the North Texas region will get together for a day, or everyone in the Los Angeles area will meet up. How often we do so varies depending on workload.

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  • Hanno

    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.

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  • Help Scout

    Every department is different, but for the most part, yes. The marketing team has what we call a ‘marketing summit.’ Every quarter, we get together in Boston for two or three days and review the last few months, learn from our mistakes and wins, and plan for the future.

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  • Hippo Education

    Yes, they meet in pods on their own, but we meet as a group at least twice a year (we need to be better at this but that’s our goal).

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  • Hubstaff

    We don’t host meetups, but the Hubstaff team members who live in the same areas often work together. For example, both Dave and Jared live in Indianapolis and can swing by each other’s houses and work on the porch with a beer.

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  • Inpsyde GmbH

    Yes, we do, at least once a year we have a team meeting, but without internet or computers. We just want to have some fun and good talks outside of work. Many times we also meet one another at WordCamps in Europe or Germany.

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  • Intridea/Mobomo

    Yes, we usually kick-off a project in house – so we’ll fly folks in for that.  Also, we host an annual retreat every year for a few days. Last year, it was a big rental house in Steamboat Springs, CO.

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  • InVisionApp

    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.

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  • Jackson River

    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.

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  • Kin HR

    We encourage our team members to meet in person as often as they like. Sometimes, it makes it easy for having a number of employees working together in a physical space especially when handling a triple constraint; time, cost, and scope.

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  • LoveToKnow

    We do not routinely meet in person. Some of our management team has met a couple times and when I am traveling, I’ve made a point to meet people who live in those areas, but we really don’t depend on face-to-face communication.

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  • Mavens

    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.

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  • Melewi

    We try to set a regular team meet up once or twice a year. So far, in 2016, the entire team have met up twice. Once in Japan (Hokkaido, Kyoto, Tokyo) and once in Manila, Philippines where we held a workshop event for the very first time.

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  • Mokriya

    Currently this is on an ad-hoc basis. It is not uncommon for parts of the team to meet in person in all parts of the world. This could be triggered by personal preference or client projects bringing us together.

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  • MomsRising.org

    We all meet once a year and when we travel to locations where we have part of the team we may get together one on one or as a small group.

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  • NodeSource

    Yes, absolutely.  Face to face communication is vital so we have teams break off and have quarterly offsites.  The Engineering team is going to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for a week in August, leveraging our AirBnB benefits!

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  • Parse.ly

    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.

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  • Plex

    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.

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  • Project Ricochet

    We fly our entire team out for a conference once each year. This is our opportunity to spend time together, get to know new team members, and have fun. We find that this is a hugely important part of our model and although it’s expensive, we find that it’s very much worth it.

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  • Sanborn Media Factory

    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.

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  • Seeq

    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.

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  • Simple Texting

    Not yet. Skype and Google hangouts are what we use.

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  • SitePen

    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

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  • SoftwareMill

    We have monthly meetings in person. The idea is to meet, to connect and get motivated for the next month. Moreover we have a bigger meeting once a year. Everyone comes with their families: wives, husbands and kids.

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  • Stack Overflow

    Every year we do a large meetup that the entire engineering team attends, and as necessary smaller sub-teams have their own meetups at our headquarters in New York.

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  • Sticker Mule

    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.

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  • Summit CPA Group

    We try to have our remote workers meet up once a year.

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  • TaxJar

    We encourage employees to work together in person whenever it helps make them more efficient.

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  • TeamGantt

    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.

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  • Teleport

    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.

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  • The Cheat Sheet

    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.

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  • Timely

    Yes, because we are semi-centralised we meet regularly. This includes once a year we all gather.

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  • Ushahidi

    Yes. This is essential. The whole team meets once per year. Then we have small hit teams with 5-10 people or so throughout the year.

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  • WooThemes

    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.

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  • Wordfence

    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.

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  • Workfrom

    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.

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  • Working Solutions

    Yes, we do, and the frequency varies between teams.  Some meet quarterly, others annually.  We try to bring the whole company together annually for a fun and energizing retreat and planning meeting.

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  • Worldwide101

    We meet with our core team in person twice a year. It is somewhat of a retreat in that we work, and strategize but we also catch up and walk the dogs, and spend time visioning!

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  • X-Team

    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?” 🙂
    • etc.

    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.

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