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I need vacation: madewithlove company retreat 2019 (Italy)

Published on December 24, 2019 and filed under This is madewithlove
Written
by Steve Tauber and will take

4 minutes

of your time.
In short
We are a remote company and once a year we fly everyone to a secret location for our annual company retreat. In 2019, madewithlove went to Italy and this is how it looked.

Every year, team madewithlove goes on a secret mission. We spend a week together in a cool location during our company retreat. This year was no different.
We’ve recently returned from our company retreat in Montaione, Italy, a small town nestled in the Tuscany region. We stayed in a beautiful (and at times weird) villa overlooking the hills. And, although the trip was amazing and quite fun, I need a vacation! I’m exhausted and I don’t just think that’s because I’m getting older. We worked a ton! During the week, madewithlove balances our time between bonding as a team and delivering high value. Here’s how we do it.

madewithlove company retreat

Everyone contributes knowledge

Our time is generally split between fun activities, team meals, sharing knowledge, and perfecting the way we work. When it comes to sharing knowledge, everyone has to contribute. We have internal workshops such as Finding our Why, Handling Feedback, or even technical topics like Your First Flutter App. Some people choose to present in a more traditional way. This works well for talks like Taking the command bus and The Future of Work & Life. Of course, we record this content so that we can return to it later if we’d like. This year, we spent about 22 hours on sharing knowledge in this way. We even brought in an outside expert for 2 nights to help improve our writing and presenting skills.

madewithlove company retreat

That last 1%

I am fortunate to work in a team that is full of highly intelligent professionals. Because of this, we sometimes nitpick on ways to improve. This is usually an ongoing effort throughout the year via structured feedback in both planned and unplanned sessions. However, during the retreat, we carve out time to tackle heavier topics like Personal Growth, Diversity and Inclusions, Managing our 10% Time, Project Management Failures and Improvements, Living our Values, and DevOps. We spent about 6 hours on these topics this year.

madewithlove team retreat

Workout and fun

The rest of the time we relax, eat, and rest. We have team workouts twice a day and reserve some time for excursions. We like to explore the region we are in. This year we visited Siena and San Gimignano, tasted wine, went on country-side tours via Vespa or horseback, and even went rafting. We also explored vistas via a hot air balloon ride on a beautiful morning. Let’s not mention the Karaoke night.

madewithlove team retreat
company retreat

Get out what you put in

As you can see, our retreats are not only about fun — we work hard during them. It also takes a lot of effort to account for all the logistics. Feeding 25 people for a week is hard, let alone all the extras. It takes almost a year to plan everything. Even right now, two members of our team are working on next year’s autumn retreat. I can’t wait to see where we’ll go. I’ll just make sure to be better rested before jumping on the plane.

madewithlove company retreat

Written by

Steve Tauber

Steve is an American living in Zagreb. He has experience as a senior programmer, project and product manager, and trainer.

Learn more about Steve Tauber

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