In April, we held our second ever company meet-up, flying in remote Memory colleagues to our Oslo HQ to spend a week together. How was it? Exceptionally awesome, and we’d like to share a few thoughts on exactly why spending time together is so important for start-ups.
About 50% of the Memory team works remotely — from Canada, Germany, Ukraine, Greece, India, UK, Egypt and Romania, to name a few locations. We’re super grateful to be able to pull from such a globally diverse skillset, while also supporting the lifestyles of our remote colleagues. But it can come with challenges, one of the weirdest being that you often collaborate with people you’ve never actually met.
Our meet-ups are essential social enablers for the entire company, where many of us meet for the first time. They allow us to build relationships with each other beyond our Slack thumbnail pictures, and understand how different people like to communicate.
When we’re all scattered across the world, we often get caught up in our own specialisms and projects. Getting together allows us to reflect on what we’re all doing and consider different perspectives, so Memory continues to represent all of us. Meet-ups are one of the best ways to help remote teams build enduring, meaningful company identities people actually subscribe to.
Annual meet-ups provide a focused space for sharing ideas and deciding what to build next. We set problems and tasks, break into groups, discuss the wildest possibilities and then present tangible solutions back to each other. It’s a completely safe creative space for running away with ideas and pouring everyone’s energies into creating cool new products.
Meet-ups offer a great opportunity for learning new skills and developing as a whole team — you have your entire company’s attention in one room together! This year, we brought in external facilitator Heather Taylor Portmann to help us improve our cross-company feedback, while also getting the team to hold individual skills workshops. We are all now trained to use our support messaging system, so expect to talk with a lot more of us on email from now on!
The atmosphere is insanely special — all the people who jumped on-board your start-up and threw everything into building it are all finally together in the same place. Make sure you take the time to appreciate and recognize all the cool stuff you’ve done together, and get people pumped for what’s coming next!
Planning your own meet-up? Take a peek at this essential checklist.