The first-ever OpenWater retreat was a success! Half of us didn’t know what to expect, but all of us were excited to find out.
Chances are, you can relate.
To start: we all had expectations of others based on our interactions over phone, email, and Slack. In person? Cody is so tall! Helen is hilarious! Findlay is dope! (Etc.)
A cohesive team doesn’t happen automatically. Part of the chemistry stems from a group of people with good humor.
“We were joking around for an internal name for the support team,” says Laura, “and just for fun I suggested ‘Squad Team Squadron,’ which stuck.” Now each of the teams have names (e.g., Apollo, Pineapple Cats), logos, and hashtags. All reference internal jokes too lengthy and/or obscure to explain.
Making the move from virtual to in-person was easier than expected.
“The key is that we hire hardworking, nice people with high accountability,” explains Kunal.
An example of this happened months ago, off-the-clock, in Florida.
Spotless Service Record
Laura (from New York City) works with Kenneth (in Tampa, Florida) on a daily basis. Laura and her husband were heading down to attend a wedding. She and Kenneth decided to meet up in person for the first time.
They met for lunch at Applebees. It was “a great first interaction with her,” recalls Kenneth. “We talked about film scripts and writing projects we had worked on.”
All was well until Laura’s husband called. The dress shirt he packed for the wedding had a stain on it. The ceremony was just hours away!
Kenneth immediately launched into problem-solving mode. He asked the Applebee’s staff for clothing store recommendations. He drove Laura to two different stores in an unfamiliar city until a solution was found. “It was maybe an hour-ish in total,” says Kenneth, downplaying his gesture of goodwill.
It’s one thing to jump to service for a client. That is expected. It is another to offer assistance to a coworker you just met. Yet, this story encapsulates the kind of people, goodwill, and trust that exists throughout the company.
Meeting everyone in person was a lot of fun. We’re already planning the next retreat. If you would like to join the OpenWater team, stay tuned. More positions will be announced soon.
Special thanks to Rebecca and Alexis for planning the accommodations, food, and activities for this inaugural event.
Photo: a company-wide Lego construction project, in process