“Please don’t make me sit next to the following people…” there followed a list of the names of several other Remergers that I intended to avoid during our flight to Mallorca. Keeping a fear of flying under control requires a strategy and as this was my third offsite, I had already identified most of the other aviophobics. I also had a little pill in my pocket to help.
Safely in my seat and surrounded by pre-vetted aerophiles, I started to read through our Offsite Guide and think about my expectations for the trip. One of the special things about the Remerge Offsite is that it isn’t reserved for certain employees, everyone is invited - from the interns to the founders. It’s inclusive, we are all on board this great challenge together. So when our CEO, Pan, sadly told us that a family matter had eclipsed the trip, no one minded jumping in quickly to cover for him. The offsite would be different without Pan, but it would still be Remerge which would mean lots of interesting new insights. I couldn’t wait! Then the Xanax kicked in and I fell asleep with my mouth open.
I woke to a party in the aisle and the offer to sip from a bottle of prosecco. The positivity, enthusiasm and energy of the five company founders influenced every aspect of the offsite agenda. This led to four days of racing for clues in Mallorca’s Old Town, hiking to secluded dining spots, riding on Jet-skis, and sipping white wine aboard a catamaran. There was also time to relax, chat and enjoy each others company. I learnt that you can fit nine people on an inflatable watermelon and what to do if your bikini bottom comes undone on both sides during a banana boat ride. The answer lies in teamwork: you hold on to the banana with one hand and hold up one side of the bikini bottom with the other. Your female colleague in front of you does the same. Your male colleague behind you averts his eyes. It’s a group effort.
“Cheers!” We raised our glasses. After some time discussing food and family, talk turned to work. I had recently been promoted to a new role with global responsibilities, so it was important for me to use this opportunity to connect with Remergers outside of the HQ. Given the chance to talk to people face to face over a glass of wine I found that people were infinitely more open. Critiques, observations, and suggestions flowed freely in a way that can be difficult to achieve over slack channels. Plus, judging reactions in person makes it easier to have an honest and open conversation without having your emojis misinterpreted.
Being silly with, laughing, teasing, relaxing, chatting and screaming with a work colleague lets you connect with them on a whole new level. I now know who can fake looking like a pro while losing control of his jet ski and whose door to knock on if I am looking for a late night party. Additionally, I had an updated armory of in-jokes that I planned to use relentlessly. As the trip drew to a close, I felt invigorated by my new connections and discoveries, and excited to start implementing the things I’d discussed with my team members from across the globe.
On Monday we got back to work, still a bit sunburnt and finding sand in unexpected places. As we filed into our bi-weekly company meeting, we saw Pan and felt a new pang of sorrow that he had not been celebrating with us in Mallorca. Ever sensitive to the mood of the team, Pan took this moment to thank the safety net of team members that were there to catch him when he could not be present. While reminding us about Remerge’s values of transparency, fun, fairness and being united, he said that Remerge would always encourage employees to put their families first and support them in doing so, just as we had with him.
Bonding up close and personal on a company trip allows you to see someone having their best fun, which puts the person that you meet in the office during the day into a new perspective. However, when your CEO tells you to put work aside when necessary and concentrate on your family, that’s when you really value the magic of Remerge.
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