Last year EMPAUA held its second ever company retreat in a small town just outside of Barcelona. Being only two years at the time, it might have been perceived as a little risky to take 35 employees out of work for a long weekend, however building a company culture that we are proud of has been a pillar of EMPAUA since it’s founding and we felt that hosting a company retreat was important. The week proved a success full of bonding, learning, team building, relaxation and partying. The bar was set high for the future EMPAUA company summits, but luckily our organisers stepped up to the mark this year.
In mid-October, 50 PAUArangers from Berlin, London, Zürich, Madrid and Barcelona descended on Lisbon, for a week of surfing, climbing, volleyball, yoga, beach time, parties, workshops and plenty of pastel de natas. The week provided us with an opportunity to retreat from our desks, build stronger relationships with our peers, carry out face-to-face strategy meetings (a rarity when we’re split over 5 cities) and most importantly have fun.
Improve Company Culture
A recent survey found that 90% of employees interviewed believed company culture was important at their firm. Our summit allowed us the opportunity to meet new hires from our various offices for the first time and catch up with seasoned PAUArangers. Consulting is on-the-go and holding remote calls and meetings is an everyday occurrence at EMPAUA and it is important that we are able to trust and rely on our remote colleagues. Being able to connect with team-mates from other offices on the beach with a beer is far more engaging than Google Meet. It allows us to build stronger relationships with the very people we are working with day in day out.
Healthier & Happier Team
Work life can often become stressful and exercise is a proven activity to relieve stress. At EMPAUA we appreciate the great outdoors and actively encourage our team to spend as much time out in the open as possible. Our summit organisers lined up an exciting schedule with climbing, surfing, mountain biking and kayaking to choose from. Unfortunately the weather conditions proved fierce and those who chose surfing ended up being taught a harsh lesson by mother nature as we battled Atlantic waves for 2 hours – it was a good workout nonetheless.
Relax and Rejuvenate
This year our team worked on hundreds of projects for a wide range of different clients. We’re an on-the-go company and so treating the whole company to a trip to Lisbon allowed our team members to take a breather. It’s highly important to us that the PAUArangers maintain a healthy mindset and taking time to relax is pinnacle in achieving this.
Connect in More Casual Ways Than The Office
We probably drink as many beers and eat as many pizzas as the next start-up. But being able to barbecue some food together and share a few Cerveja’s in a slightly more exotic location than our office is something special. Even instances such as navigating through a new city together with your peers present chances to interact in whole new ways than what might have previously been done. Being able to connect with our teammates in a stronger sentiment was a real plus.
Reflect and Plan
Our company summit was not just a holiday. It’s not often that we’re all in the same room and so we used the opportunity wisely and held some strategy meetings while in Lisbon. Being an autonomous company, we encourage everybody to participate in shaping the direction of the company. Over 2 days, we put our heads together to voice our thoughts and ideas on our day-to-day work and how we should run as a company. The meeting was conducted in a much more efficient manner than one carried out remotely.
Creating Shared Memories Together
A company retreat hosts a whole range of new settings for socialising with team mates. Creating these memories together are important for stronger professional relationships when back in the office. Plus, it’s nice being able to think back and have a laugh about that time that a freak wave crashed on the rocks and drenched half the team from top to toe.
All in all, we had a great time and look forward to next year’s EMPAUA summit. We would certainly recommend other companies to consider putting some resources aside and investing in a company retreat. A big thank you to Elena Lange and Steffi Kromer for organising another fantastic trip!
Check out our Instagram for more photos! @empaua