As a remote software company, IMG.LY thrives in an online oasis. Remote work brought flexibility for team members individually, working when and where you work best. For the company, it brought the best people across the world. Yet, it also left us craving more: stronger connections, open communication, and a sense of belonging.
The Online Oasis: Thriving or Drying Up?
The Remote Work Reality
Our team members are distributed across the globe, connected through screens and virtual meetings. This setup has enabled us to collaborate effectively and achieve remarkable outcomes, invite the best team members around the world without uprooting them from their communities, to move them to the company home. We've forged strong connections online and have crafted solutions together, that we are proud of.
However, even in our thriving digital setup, we believe there's always room for improvement. We value connection, open communication, and a sense of belonging, so we've embarked on a journey to enhance these aspects. Our goal is not to see remote work as a second-best solution, but to make it even better by combining the strengths of our online collaboration with real-world experiences.
An Investment in Growth
For companies, a retreat isn't just a getaway; it's also an investment. It's an opportunity to recharge creative energies, develop personal and professional development, and thus increase productivity. For us, this retreat serves as the cornerstone of a year-long framework, one built around a growth mindset that will guide us to our company goals, both individually and as a team.
The Journey to a Goal
Our destination: Montenegro, a coastal calm where the Adriatic Sea meets the stunning landscapes of Herceg Novi. In Montenegro, we didn’t aim at finding faults with remote work; it was about elevating the life at IMG.LY even more.
Mapping the Objectives
As we prepared for our retreat, we recognized the importance of setting objectives. These would serve as our guiding stars. Some spots in need of rehydration were: enhancing open communication, tackle zoom fatigue and propel engagement, promote skill sharing, and lastly, improving leadership skills.
Work & Play: Is a Fixed Schedule Relaxing?
With our objectives set, we outlined a clear balanced schedule, with check-ins in the morning, and a check-out in the evening, to give feedback on how things are going, readjust and be heard. The in-between period was shaped by workshops, free time in the cities and at the beach, and exciting group activities along the coast. This schedule ensures that no one feels lost and allows for easy connection with others, time for recuperation, or focused work.
Our retreat featured over 20 workshops by team members, each designed to address specific objectives. From improving communication skills to deepening our product knowledge, these workshops provided valuable insights and hands-on learning experiences.
To sharpen the saw, nurture the soft skills: This included workshops on tackling public speaking fears, to communication techniques for better feedback loops.
To forge the future, sharpen your vision: Our team offered talks on our product vision, understanding our engine, generative AI, learning tools, and much more. Of course, we couldn’t help but organize a public viewing of the Apple Keynote event, including a self-made bingo app, where we could make our guesses on which features will make it into their new products.
Of course, we also explored the city, including a fantastic boat trip, and visit the filming sets of Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik. One of my personal highlights was particularly learning improvisation games from our teammate Thierry at the beach. The clear schedule made it much easier to connect with everyone, without feeling lost.
End of One Journey, Beginning of Another
The retreat was not about escaping the digital world but embracing it fully, understanding its strengths, and enhancing them through real-world experiences. Our digital oasis had not withered away; it flourishes into something extraordinary. We know that for companies, a retreat is an investment, and we believe it’s worth it, especially when sailing out with clear objectives.