Working remotely at company that has grown from 149 when I was hired to 1191 at the time of this post, has been an amazing journey in optimizing communication.
As folks who work almost the entire day in text or zoom meetings, we value face-to-face downtime together where we can socialize. Tone, humor, intent, sarcasm, directness can all be misinterpreted over text. We learn these nuances of working together during the time when we can actually talk with one another.
Meetups have taken me to Hawaii, Sicily, New Orleans, Argentina, Berlin, London, and elsewhere around the globe to work on projects, new tools, and to get some focused time together to work on something really important. (I miss meetups and my coworkers.) Centralizing a meetup on a geographic midpoint of all participants is possible sometimes, but requires 12-24+ hours of travel for those in remote locations or isolated timezones. Additionally, having someone flip their nights and days can make them quite unproductive or sick during the meetup and when they return home. For a 5 day meetup, you could have someone be away for 9-11 days once you include travel, then exhausted the next 7 days after that when you include recovery.
Enter the “virtual offsite”.
Our VIP support leads team has been running a virtual offsite each quarter since November 2018 (possibly earlier). Instead of being gone for 4 more trips per year, having to organize child care/flights/hotels/meals/etc. and being gone for over a week, I get to stay in my home and just have 2 long work days each quarter.
My coworker Steph wrote this about the virtual offsites she’s organized, I highly recommend reading it if you’re looking for a way to get together virtually without having to get together in the middle of a pandemic.