The most special off-site
When you enjoy the freedom of remote work on a daily basis, team meetings are something you look forward to, live intensely and remember fondly from the first coffee you have on your own when you get back to your routine. So it was, for yet another year, Soluble's off-site, El Toboso Edition, which we shared a week ago.
This time was even more special for the team, since last June we left our headquarters in Barcelona, where we were born and evolved. A decision that in today's context makes perfect sense (the team is much more distributed now and the use of the office was very punctual) but that marked the end of a chapter and opened new possibilities. More resources to work together in coworkings in the team's different locations and to organize our off-sites.
Added to this was the usual secrecy: we didn't know the destination until 24 hours before the meeting and the agenda was full of mystery and surprises. With plenty of hype.
Fewer headphones, more flip flops
The day finally arrived. An hour and a half drive from Madrid awaited us El Toboso, homeland of Dulcinea, love of Don Quixote. A paradise where we abandoned for a few days our meetings in the metaverse to share space and celebrate ourselves 24 hours a day. The chosen location also allowed us to visit windmills and taste the typical gastronomy of La Mancha, thanks to a catering service who made everything easy and delicious.
It was four days of off-site that gave us a lot to do. We celebrated Laurent's birthday. Had breakfast together. Some went for a run and watched the sunrise. We had meetings in the sun, wearing flip-flops. We made friends with Kevin the cat and his family. We competed preparing hamburgers (special mention to Estela and Maria's red fruit jam) and cocktails. We also played ping pong (Julia annihilated and demoralized her rivals) and foosball (we discovered Celia's hidden talent). Ismael and Laurent prepared a spectacular barbecue for us. And we also had time to learn more about Soluble, the team and ourselves.
We talked with our brand managers about how to improve the organization and processes, Activation team explained resources to face presentations, and we refreshed some tips on how to give and receive good feedback.
With Ismael, we reflected on what we are, what we do and why we do it. From time to time it is good to stop for a moment to think about where we are, how we are. Something that we almost always tell outwardly, but analyzing it from the inside. Because everything we do on a daily basis, we do it to make good companies look as good as they are. And not only that: along the way we want to make people a little happier at work. It's a purpose and a way of doing things. With our more than partners, of course, but it starts by taking care of us as a team, by taking care of the essence of Soluble.
A safe space
We take care of ourselves all year round. We do it with our new career plan, and our collaboration with Mentiness, the platform for improving mental health in companies. All that joint effort, on a daily basis, has improved the communication and understanding of the team, we already knew that. Of course, in the off-site, as a reality show coexistence, it has been magnified. We have experienced and shared this safe space that we had been working on, it has become tangible. It has been very nice.
A safe space where we know we can express ourselves with guarantees whenever we need to. Where we can put ourselves to the test and where competing is fun and allows us to learn from others or discover hidden talents. So it was with the challenge proposed to us by our Design colleagues: in teams, we had to create a strategy, a creative concept and a whole visual identity for a new brand. Something that requires hours of work, a lot of care and expertise... in just half an hour. They made us sweat, but you can see that we did very well because both teams won.
We were still on the edge of our seats during the theatrical improvisation workshop, another surprise activity. In the team we have a professional actress, our Ada, but Cristian and Ismael gave the surprise of the session with spectacular performances. Leaving theatrical talent (or lack of it) aside, the improvisation discovered the rule of "yes, and", about the importance of listening to the team's proposal and adding to build. A fundamental attitude at work and in life. Because there are no bad ideas, nor perfect ones, and with this philosophy we avoid stopping them when they start to take off.
We walk away being a better team
And the off-site came to an end. The first one after leaving the office. The one in the safe space. A meeting as special as it was complete. We were looking forward to it and it did not disappoint. That's how the latest additions to the team experienced it:
"I had the intuition that I was going to enjoy it and that I was going to leave with a good taste in my mouth, but it exceeded all my expectations. Meeting the team in person was a gift, and the days we spent together helped me a lot to put heart into it, as well as faces," says Belén.
"Actually, it was my first off-site in general, not just at Soluble. It was a lot of emotions all at once and it was a chance to see you all a little more vulnerable, more human. You were no longer just work colleagues," recalls Andrea Alonso.
And so it was for Javi, the veteran of Soluble: "There were quite a few people with whom I had been working for a long time and whom I hadn't put legs on yet. These latest additions have integrated very quickly and it showed, the atmosphere was very good. The activities were also great, I hadn't done anything like that before. I really liked the plan of the Design team, I visualize a challenge like this from Tech, very soon. And I still have to beat Julia at ping pong.
Now it's time to continue taking care of ourselves online, enjoying the freedom of teleworking every day and thinking about the next meeting, Soluble team.
Nothing happens at Soluble due to the efforts of just one person. This article wouldn’t have been possible without the participation of Carmen Fraga in writing, Marta Factor in edition, Javier López in technical production and Celia Santos in video edition and visual design.