“I would like to work from a remote location for a while” our marketing manager wished, when we asked the team how we could make working at this company even more awesome. Now, four months later, I am writing this post at the pool of Villa Aventuro, just south of Athens, Greece. And with me is almost the entire team, their spouses and children. All in all over 30 people will be here during these four weeks.
“Yes, we took our whole company including their families on a month long ‘work-retreat’ to Greece!”
It is not very difficult to convince someone living in Finland to spend at least part of the fall somewhere warmer – but we didn’t imagine this idea was going to be this popular. So, we searched for a suitable location and found this amazing villa where everyone can stay, work and enjoy the warm weather.
Our working days here are very similar to Finland. We have the same working hours, same 10 am stand-up meeting followed by the daily push-ups. The difference is that we get to do it in an awesome and inspiring environment. I can assure you that the environment’s effect is obvious in the enthusiasm of our team. “Should we do the sales report meeting at the pool or on the veranda?”
Of course we are running a business, and we must consider this as an investment, too. We are planning to hire numerous people in the next 18 months to maintain the business growth. So we decided to spend a part of the recruitment budget in this experiment, instead of strictly on recruiting marketing. Also, we have many recent recruits and this trip has been an incredible team building exercise to help them become a part of our team quickly.
This is not as expensive as one would think. Because we are doing this outside the tourist season, we got a really good deal on the villa. The costs per month are roughly the same as our new office rent and this is a really nice getaway while the new office is being renovated. Also, this is not an all inclusive free holiday, people paid for their own flights. If we get one successful hire through this, the trip has already paid for itself.
We have now been here for two weeks, and so far it has been a fantastic project and it really shows the value of crazy outlier ideas in our corporate culture. People are working concentrated and the mood and the ideas generated have been really really good. Are we getting any work done? Definitely. Is it as fun as it sounds like? True that too! In fact, as things are now, there is a good chance we will do something similar again in 2015. And if you wish you could work in an environment like this, check out our careers page!