Our First Company Retreat
In 2021, Linearity decided to become a remote-first company, and since then, we have been hiring talent from all around the world. Our virtual collaboration has been working very well, but to really allow our team members to mesh together and foster deeper connections with each other, it’s essential for us to meet in-person. That's why we hosted our first company retreat in October of this year!
But let’s start from the beginning.
Finding the right location
The majority of our employees work from Europe, with 31 of those working from our HQ in Berlin. In total we’re a team of 70+ people. To make our retreat as sustainable as possible, we chose a location close to Berlin. After looking at various options, the choice finally fell on Schloss Fleesensee, a beautiful castle with romantic scenery, surrounded by many lakes and forests, and only a 2.5 hours bus ride from Berlin.
Designing the agenda
The retreat organization team quickly decided that we would like to give the team members themselves the opportunity to support us in designing the retreat program and pitching ideas for team activities, presentations, and other fun things. To accomplish this, we had regular exchanges with the team during the weeks leading up to the event. We pitched ideas, brainstormed together, asked for feedback, and at the end of the process, we came up with the following agenda:
We spent our first evening of the retreat with a team quiz night, where we randomly split the employees into quiz teams to break the ice and ensure that each person could make first contacts outside their usual team bubble.
Over the next few days, we had vibrant discussions during our workshop to reflect and brainstorm on effective ways of working. We also received a lot of valuable and still secret information about our company’s exciting vision for the future. Finally, we celebrated some important milestones that we reached last year with some presentations from our team members.
One highlight was a talk from our external speaker, Karim Morsy, the CEO of Algoriddim. He took us through his personal journey to build a successful DJ app, his shared learnings during that process, and answered all of our team’s questions.
Time for bonding
One of the main goals for our retreat was to allow enough time for our employees to create and nurture connections, to do team activities together, and to simply recharge their batteries. The retreat location, Schloss Fleesensee, was perfect environment for relaxing in the spa area, starting the day with yoga, or discussing personal or work-related topics with peers while having a hike.
The perfect ending to our retreat was our lovely Halloween party with scary costumes, tasty food, and nice music. We toasted to each other, danced together, and enjoyed our last evening before heading back to Berlin. Our CEO surprised us with a performance from the magician Samuel Lenz, who entertained us with his mind-bending magic show and left us puzzled over how he could have known the names of our employees’ fathers.
The feedback from the team about the retreat was overwhelmingly positive. It was a great team bonding experience and a huge milestone for shaping our company culture. Next time, we will be happy to take on the organizational hassle again to plan our next retreat and to create an environment where we can refresh our minds together outside the virtual world, building relationships, and working collaboratively on our company’s mission.