At WebScale, we’ve always done things a little differently. From the way we’ve assembled our team, to our approach to building KeyPay and our philosophy on support, we’ve always tried to focus on the way we do things, rather than what everyone else does.
As per WebScale tradition, we did things differently this year and not only had our Christmas party in February, but we decided to bring the team together for 2 days / 3 nights in the Hunter Valley for what became known as our first ever “KeyCon”.
WebScale is a remote-first company, so it was a great chance to get the entire team together for an extended period of time in a relaxed atmosphere to catch up on work, interact with team members that we wouldn’t normally get a chance to talk to and simply spend time getting to know each other.
This was the first time we’d done anything like this at WebScale and while we were confident it’d be a great success, whenever you run an event of this size for the first time, there’s always a concern that it’ll be an expensive way to waste 2 days of everyone’s time.
Thankfully, not only did these concerns turn out to be unfounded, but the event was such an amazing success that we’re already planning on doing it again next year. It’s something that I’d highly recommend to anyone running a remote-first company, and here’s a couple of reasons why:
Collaboration flares creativity
Bringing people together creates a different dynamic to communicating via web chat or video calls. This dynamic acts as a catalyst for ideas to bubble up that may have otherwise stayed hidden behind a wall of chat. Not only did we see a number of new ideas spark out of KeyCon, but we’ve already seen some of them implemented and have a positive impact.
Make your team your family
This is an obvious one, but bringing people together builds relationships, and when your team has strong relationships, they’re able to work better together. After the 2 days our team spent together, there was a near tangible increase in the relationships that were built that translated into our slack channels in the days and weeks after KeyCon.
Set the scene for success
It’s a great way for leaders to check the pulse of the company. Nothing gets the team to open up better than a few days relaxing together. Beers and single malt also help, but creating a relaxed environment where people feel comfortable will give you a better reading on your company than months worth of 1:1 meetings.
Work hard, play harder
Team get togethers are fun; or at least they should be. If you can’t spend time with your team and it’s not an enjoyable experience, it might be an indicator that you need to take a good look at the culture within your company.
Even if you can’t run a 2 day event for your entire company, if you run a remote team, I’d highly recommend looking into ways you can bring everyone together, even if just for a single day.
In any case, our first KeyCon was a huge success and we’re excited to do it all again next year!