Let's call it: Malaga 2.0
It was time to plan our next Office Retreat, so we decided to go to Málaga. Does that sound familiar to you? Yes, we already went to Málaga in 2018. Then we were ten and a half people, this time we were fifteen. Crazy, isn't it? But crazy awesome!
So, let's talk about a week in May where we sang "We are the champions" but didn't really know why, made plans to open an überdosis pizzeria, and attempted to visit a secret dungeon in the woods — a week packed with inspiring workshops, a hackathon, fun team interviews, and two days as well as many evenings full of great moments with our teammates.
Everything began on a Thursday. Fifteen überdosen, that's how we call our team members, started their journey to Málaga from Berlin. Our two full-time remote colleagues managed the trip from Düsseldorf. Almost at our destination, we had to push our cars up a steep, bumpy hill. Two of us got lost on the way and had their own little adventure — a very close and personal encounter with two lazy dogs and a deep mudhole.
From the beginning, our trip felt like a fun class trip with friends; some people could not even sit still during the flight. The house was gigantic. We had two floors, several rooms, a huge kitchen, an incredible mountain view, and a pool that was just a little too cold.
On the first day, we filled about six shopping carts when we went grocery shopping. We cooked together, and the amount of spaghetti we made was spectacular. One day Martin, Patrick, Angi, Dominik, and Markus made pizza for the whole team. They looked so professional that we seriously considered opening an überdosis pizzeria. 🍕
For us, the office retreat is one of the most important events of the year. It's a time when we get to know each other better and talk about our daily challenges. We look back at the past year and talk about what went well and what didn't. We talk about how we can improve our work, processes, and team structures. But most importantly: everyone gets a voice.
🚀 Let the workshops begin
Laura has only been with us for a short time. Nonetheless, she has taken the challenge of leading our workshops and did a fantastic job! As Sebastian put it: "We become more professional every year." Laura crafted and distributed fancy cardboard signs for different tasks like time tracking, allowing silence, a parking place for ideas to revisit later, and, most importantly, beer and coffee breaks.
🤔 What happened so far
Philip prepared a small presentation about the development of überdosis. The talk was supposed not to be funny, but in the end, it was — but in a good way. He was holding up his cardboard microphone, telling us: "We have been very lucky, and the rest we have done right." He talked about COVID, climate change, inflation, the war in Europe, a changing team, and the roller coaster of doing project businesses. But anyway, we are still here, and we are highly motivated! There are still six months to go in 2022, and we are excited to take that challenge.
👐 Participation as a team
Possibilities like being in Málaga boost the team spirit. During last year's office retreat in Belgium, we founded working groups to let everyone who's interested engage in different topics. Now, after a year, we can look back and say it worked pretty well. We improved our technical infrastructure, started organizing team events more regularly, and worked on being more sustainable as well as increasing our social engagement.
With Patrick, we talked about participation and how we can be a company that doesn't stick to fixed structures like hierarchies. We used the time for an open exchange. We discussed how überdosis could be more democratic, how to establish collaborative decision-making processes, and how to encourage empathy and create a safe space to be vulnerable. Furthermore, we discussed how to improve the balance of responsibilities between shareholders and employees. Our vision is not to work for überdosis but to work on überdosis. That is why it is important to us that everyone can contribute their personality. Together we are literally smarter.
💬 How to give feedback?
Being honest and open-minded are the most important values for our team. That's why we talked about how to give productive feedback and what works well and what does not. The most important thing we realized is that we are a mix of loud and quiet people at überdosis, so we have to find a way that works for both types. One person speaks out, and the other person doesn't. That's why the idea of a suggestion box (Kummerkasten) came into mind. We wanted to create a digital opportunity where our team members could leave their concerns anonymously but still get an answer.
The same evening, Dominik and Timo began developing the suggestion box. We are looking forward to when it is ready.
💻 We did a Hackathon
We spent another two days with a project management and administrative brainstorming session as well as a hackathon.
But what the heck is a hackathon? A search engine that must not be named describes a hackathon as an event where several talents come together to work on innovative ideas for real problems. And that's what we did! We discussed how we could collaborate better as a team of developers, designers, project managers, and strategists, and we worked collectively on some tough programming issues. But, as you know, they're not bugs; they're features!
🎥 Let's do some Interviews
While the others were sitting in front of their laptops, getting square eyes, Angi became a terrific video director. Becci, on the other hand, was responsible for situation comedy but mostly carried a parasol for the camera. We interviewed everyone, even those who didn't like the camera, a challenge itself. But everyone successfully overcame their camera shyness in the end! Follow our Instagram account, where we will upload the interviews soonish.
😱 What the hell is a dungeon?
Well, the dungeon was a small old cabin with barred windows that we could see from the terrace. One evening a few of us started to be obsessed with it. Who knows for sure, but beer might have been involved.
It is said that a valuable treasure is hidden in the dungeon. So we put a team together to explore the dungeon. We had a magician, a healer, a priest, a druid, and a warrior for our raid. In the end, we never arrived because we, unfortunately, forgot to bring torches. 🔥
⛰ A trip to Caminito del Ray
One day, six of us went on an excursion to Caminito del Ray, The King's Little Path. It is a thin hiking trail that stretches alongside up to 200 meters deep canyons. Even the drive up there was thrilling. We had to park our cars right next to a cliff. Becci almost had a heart attack, but in the end, it was worth it. The view was incredible.
But what did the rest of us? They decided against their trip to the go-kart track and relaxed at the pool all day.
We had a great time, got to know each other better, enjoyed homemade foods, and – believe it or not – even had some more serious talks.
Angi, Bianca, Becci, Dominik, Laura, Martin, Markus, Nick, Patrick, Philip, Sarah, Sebastian, Sven, Timo