For the fourth time in recent years, every PAUAranger from our European bases gathered mid-September for the yearly team retreat to look back, connect, celebrate and prepare for future challenges. Here’s a behind the scenes look at the what, the why and the how of this year’s annual summit at the beach.
To some it may be considered risky to fly 60 people from 6 offices to the Spanish coast to relax and wind down together, but to us, it’s more than just a weekend on the beach. Being based across Europe, and welcoming an influx of new employees it’s the perfect chance to connect as a team and feel more like a family than a bunch of colleagues.
Google Meet has definitely reduced the distance between our European bases, however it won’t ever be able to replace the feeling of real face-to-face bonding outside the usual work environment. Having the possibility to meet colleagues in person and share an unforgettable experience is literally priceless. It drives energy and motivation and contributes to a happy team! If you want to find out more about the benefits of a company retreat, make sure to read this blog post from last year.
A pivotal part of a successful summit, we wanted to stay somewhere memorable and iconic, and where we could get involved with a load of activities. Castelldefels seemed to tick all the boxes. Less than a 3 hour flight from all of our offices, the town sits right on the sea just outside Barcelona. The town is also home to the Canal Olímpic de Catalunya (used for rowing in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics), where we would partake in some group activities on Saturday.
We stayed in the wonderful Hotel Playafels, which is situated almost on the beach, complete with a garden terrace and pool.
EMPAUA Summit Anatomy
Flying in from 6 locations, we all arrived in throughout the day on a Friday in September. Everyone made their way to the beach to catch up and get briefed on the rest of the weekend, before jumping into our first activities.
The first of which, would have us split up into groups to hurry around the area on a scavenger-style hunt, completing challenges on the way. A great way for familiar faces and new faces to interact and work together to complete a series of puzzles and challenges.
Day 1 Challenge
Seeing Day 1 out in style
On Friday evening we regathered on the beach, for some pizza and beers as the sun went down. Special thanks to our VP People & Culture, Elena, from our Berlin base, for ordering the pizzas and Imran, Technical Consultant from London for fetching the pizzas!
After an energy-boosting all-you-can-eat breakfast at the hotel, we made our way to Canal Olímpic de Catalunya for some more activities. First up was archery, little were we to know that EMPAUA is actually made up of some pretty gifted archers. We then jumped into a go-kart race, followed by a barrel challenge, before some raft building. These activities really put us to the test, both physically and from a strategic thinking point of view – plus we had some laughs on the way. Congrats to the team One More Beer, who took gold on the day’s challenges.
For the first time, there were no workshops or meetings scheduled during the Summit. The only thing that mattered was to create shared memories. And that we did! It was great to be able to get to know colleagues from other locations – there’s only so much that can be transmitted via a screen! During the weekend, you could see people who had never met in person bond over a photo, an activity, a song. You could see people who don’t see each other very often act like best friends. You could see people working in the same office grow even closer together over the adventures. It definitely helped us to feel like one company – despite the six office locations we’re split over. We all look forward to the Summit ’19!
And lastly, a very big thank you to our Summit organisers; Elena, Connie and Steffi – what a team!