The Factorial team (re)united in Portugal
With almost 40 people our offsite camp was the biggest event that we hosted for our team in more than 7 years since Factorial has been founded. For me and many others, who joined the company recently, it was a very special experience, since we mainly got to know our work at Factorial during the time of the pandemic. Other than that, due to the remote first approach at Factorial many colleagues are working permanently from their home countries like Belgium, Spain, Brazil or Finland. Especially for these colleagues it was important to host an in person which offered the very first opportunity meeting each other outside of a Zoom call.
Workshops, team activities and a lot of sun
What was special about the offsite camp in Portugal is, that we managed to achieve a lot in the five days during which the workshops took place. An important goal of the offsite was to discuss the very foundation of what Factorial is made of. This included the vision, mission and company values as well as the overall strategy that we follow.
What I especially liked about it was that rather than just handing out a pamphlet with the values written on it, the team collaboratively defined the values, the mission and vision. With this approach all colleagues participated in the discussion and decided for themselves how it should be.
In order to understand the Factorial strategy, much time was invested on the second day of the offsite to bring the team up to date. Using the goal setting method OKR, the strategy was explained by representatives who contribute to the respective objectives. Little focus groups offered the chance to speak up and reflecting on each objective, leaving the team in the position to comment and question rather than only accepting the outcome.
Another full day of the program was dedicated to a hackathon. During this day, the team was divided into 5 groups while every group was build with members of all units. The idea was to collaboratively work on the task of how to contribute to the happiness at Factorial. The results, presented during the evening were quite impressive, ranging from a self-written mood meter to a social intranet that highlights shared interests and hobbies.
Spending time never felt so real
Alongside these discussions the program also included some team activities, such as excursions to Portugal’s capital as well as open sessions and a pub quiz. I liked the idea that during the open sessions, topics were presented that the colleagues submitted themselves. Some presentations to mention: Accessibility for everyone, in which the trouble of screen readers was explained and e-privacy at Factorial. Moreover, this format also spotlighted a couple of internal updates and processes, such as our onboarding process at Factorial or what meeting ethics we want to establish.
The team events, including a pub quiz and an afternoon trip to Lisbon, highlighted once again the value of spending personal time with each other. What I am truly grateful for, is that I got the chance to be part of this trip and that I collected so many memorable moments. And in addition to the heartwarming words we found for each others company, on our last day we had the opportunity to fill little envelopes addressed to our colleagues with anything we’d like to share with them. This gave me a particularly emotional moment on the flight back to Germany, where I opened the envelope and read myself through all of the amazing notes and messages.