by Jenny Walker, Planit Canada Service Manager
As you may already know, our company culture at Planit Canada is at the heart of everything that we do. We take pride in ensuring that everyone who works at Planit Canada is happy to be a part of this team, in this environment.
Just recently, I was in Montreal with the rest of the Planit Canada service team for our annual Tech Retreat. As Service Manager, I carefully planned out the entire week in order to get the most out of activities, outings and opportunities to bond with the tech team, and the other employees who work out of our Hudson office. It’s a big investment to fly a team from across Canada to spend a week in the same place, but we’ve found it has results that last through the year. Here are just some of my key takeaways from an amazing week in Montreal.
Working remotely has its challenge and its benefits. Having the opportunity to get together and physically see each other and have the chance to collaborate is incredible. By spending quality time together and sharing meals, you get the opportunity to get to know your colleagues on different levels. On a work level, you get to know their strengths, weaknesses, and how to approach situations in ways you may have never thought of or considered. At mealtimes, and between various activities, we took full advantage of this bonding time: personal lives, interests, sense of humor, and much more! This camaraderie and compassion stayed with us long after we’d all returned to our home offices. If you manage a remote team, you know how pricey it can be to get everyone together. If at all possible, invest in it just once – I would be willing to bet that you, like us, will see the value of making it a tradition.
We spent a day with Claude, a professional business coach, and it was a fascinating experience. He put words to tactics I, and others, had not yet broken down. He opened up conversations on how we handle different scenarios, which we were able to discuss and process throughout the rest of the week. Following his sessions, he was referenced or quoted a number of times which stuck with me, showing how much of an impact he had. One of these simple statements was an equation of control over stress: if you have no control over it, don’t stress about it. Like weather. It was simple, impactful and can be used in work scenarios as well as personal ones.
We also participated in an hour-long meditation session which reminded us that some things are not exactly as they seem. By simply taking a deep breath and analyzing where your thoughts are coming from can help you refocus and avoid reactions you do not intend to exert. Bringing in an outsider can help to get your team unstuck – do not shy away from trainers, consultants, gurus and experts! You know your business best, but they bring other insights.
The team went tubing to escape the working world for a day, relax, kick back and have fun (with a side of friendly competition, of course!) This, to me, is a key for team building! It allows you to see your coworkers in a different light.
We’d not always had the opportunity to spend time working and chatting with the staff of partner companies in the past, which had limited our knowledge of the software we sell and prevented us from building the personal relationships with the partners themselves. This week, we had the opportunity to meet our partners at Web-Cab and see what their software offers. Solene and Rachel were incredibly welcoming, helpful and supportive! In the few hours we were with them, we were able to put faces to names which will only benefit us going forward as we grow our partnership in stride!
Last but not least, we got to share an awesome Raclette dinner at the Hudson office with other coworkers that we never get to see. This allowed us to make connections, chit chat, share laughs and celebrate birthdays. A simple dinner can go along way!