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WCEU 2015 & HM Retreat: The Lowdown

Posted on in Company Culture

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve returned from WordCamp Europe in beautiful Seville, and our company retreat in Zahara; and after settling back into the workflow it seems like an apt time to recapture the entire event.

For many people in our team, this was the first time we all came together for WCEU & a Human Made retreat combined, so it really was phenomenal to gather the troops and enjoy a week of living and working communally. The trip kicked off with WCEU and came to a much-too-soon end after we’d enjoyed our retreat. Nobody likes saying goodbye, and with this bunch of humans it’s even harder to do so.

WCEU 2015, Seville

WordCamp Europe 2015, in Barceló Gran Hotel Renacimiento

WordCamp Europe 2015, in Barceló Gran Hotel Renacimiento

WCEU 2015 was good. It was very, very good. It was also BIG – with over 800 attendees travelling in from all corners of the globe (our widely distributed humans included!), and made ever more magnificent by the surrounding Barceló Gran Hotel Renacimiento, where it was held.

As well as broadcasting at the event and contributing towards the organising, we were extremely proud to have five humans on stage, doing a variety of talks on everything from the REST API to Managing a Distributed Company; contributing as speakers to the three-day event were our very own, Jenny, Tom, Ryan, Franz and Joe. Read more about what the humans got up to at WCEU and watch all their talks back, here.

After-Hours

Human Made X SiteGround

Human Made X SiteGround

In collaboration with SiteGround, Human Made hosted a fantastic rooftop party with a vibrant and eclectic mix of guests and friends. It seems like everyone had a great time, and thanks very much to everyone that came out to join us! 

After two days of diverse talks plus a full contributor day, the conference culminated in an awesome fiesta done in serious Spanish style at Puerto de Cuba. In such a widely distributed community like WordPress it’s really great to be able to come together and catch up with old friends and make new ones; plus the venue was incredible, with a huge open space overlooking the river and plenty of drinks, dancing and letting loose. As we already know, the WordPress community can part-ay.

Human Made Retreat 2015, Zahara

HM Villa 1The location of our retreat was breathtaking: vast, beautiful and positioned at the very edge of southern Spain in Zahara, overlooking Morocco across the ocean.

There was plenty of space to co-work, chill, relax and have private time too. The humans spent evenings together bonding by the pool and sharing food, drinks and stories, as well as visits to local restaurants and a beautiful sea-front bar for Dasha’s birthday!

Our annual retreats are always an exciting time for everybody as we get to meet any new humans face-to-face and spend quality time together off-screen, and this location only served to make things even more idyllic.

Maintaining stiff, uptight working relationships isn’t something we believe will drive our success: we accept and appreciate our individual vulnerabilities and weaknesses, and in doing so we pull together as a team and become stronger as a whole. The retreats are a time to laugh, cry and be together and our aim is to foster an environment of cooperation, not competition. It might sound a little fantastical to other people, but to us it’s just the way it is: we really do work with our friends, which means we always try and do our best for each other, and for the company as a whole.

Whale-Watching

We were treated to an incredible whale-watching trip in the Strait of Gibraltar, where we got to totally relax and be awed by these glorious mammals. We were very lucky and managed to spot several orcas quite close to our boat too.

Hackdays

The team worked incredibly hard during our two Hackdays and produced some excellent stuff. We kicked off Nomad Base by adding integrations with Swarm and Twitter. The concept behind the project was to provide a platform where digital nomads could explore new places to work and visit, as well as have access to the right resources to enable them to do so efficiently. Remote workers can now find local wifi spots, transport links and co-working spaces for any given location. Don’t forget to sign up and follow us on Twitter!

 

 

We also pushed through with Facts Against Humanity, a database of extended profiles of all our Human Made employees. This is an internal project for us, and will help to organise future group events as well as provide personal information about the humans interests and hobbies so we can get to know each other better.

The team also worked on building a theme that is compatible with Queensland’s Government Guidelines; this ensures sites are accessible and provide a consistent user experience, with a view to then making this available to everyone on WordPress.org!

And, we also did much of this…

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All in all, the entire trip was a huge success and the human count peaked at a whopping 30. As a distributed company, spending quality time together is extremely important to us as a team; it’s the time we get to nurture unique bonds and special working relationships, and spend time with each other outside of our virtual office environment.

The focus of the retreat is always to spend time together understanding each other as individuals, which then enables us to work in synch as a team, working through each others personal and professional ebbs and flows. Above all, we really believe in each other and that strengthens our desire to maintain a positive attitude towards our working lives and relationships. As a team, we are willing to support and help each other – not just through work – but life, too.

See you in Vienna next year, folks – we can’t wait!

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Humans in Spain.

Posted by Human Made on Tuesday, July 7, 2015