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Human Made Retreat Roundup 2024 🇬🇷

The Human Made humans were off to the Greek island of Evia for this year’s annual retreat, and this beautiful location was the perfect backdrop to an action-packed week of workshops, team building, hangouts, and activities!

HM CEO Tom Willmot takes a look at what we got up to and reveals what the HM retreat means to him…

Ready, steady, Greece

The first thing to note about the Human Made annual retreat is that it takes a lot of work to pull off – our wonderful retreat organising team always make it all look easy breezy, but it’s no mean feat to gather 50+ people from all corners of the globe together.

Leyla, Tom, Siobhan, and Zoe somehow manage to think of everything and ensure the rest of us have a week to remember. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

A big thank you is also owed to all the humans who helped out with activities and retreat-related magic – from the table tennis tournament to Sarah and Ant’s Evil Pub Quiz, Paweł’s swag designs, our DJs Mitesh, KAdam, Adam, and Tom, Jon and Jenny’s karaoke, Rebekah’s Speed Donuts, KAdam, Ivan and Jerico’s flash talk coordination, Stu’s AV services, and so many more… folks from across the whole company pull together to make the week as fun, memorable, and slick as can be.

We couldn’t do it without them, and we’re all extremely grateful for their efforts and dedication – being a Human Made human means getting stuck in wherever you can lend a hand, and never is this spirit more apparent than when people volunteer their time and energy so freely. Thank you all.

The bonds we built

In a fully remote company, it can be pretty difficult to develop the same kind of relationships you’d naturally form when working together in an office everyday. While we’re great at communicating virtually, sometimes there really is no substitute for IRL face time. People’s energy, body language, and even their intonation and humour can all be very different in person versus virtually.

As well as having a Team Day to foster those connections between people who work closely together every day, I get a real sense of joy from seeing bonds being formed between folks whose paths don’t necessarily cross in their job roles. We had a few workshops and activities designed to get that kind of cross-collaboration and relationship building flowing, and by all accounts it was many people’s favourite part of the retreat overall.

Everything works better when people of different skillsets, backgrounds, and experiences come together, and for me it’s the most crucial part of why we hold a company retreat in the first place – I’m always confident that these stronger bonds will be evident in our work for clients, across the WordPress community, and indeed in our daily interactions with one another. It’s an absolute pleasure to play a small part in helping people create friendships that can last a lifetime.

Finding our flow

When you’re in a new environment with new people and out of your normal routine, it can be easier to step out of your comfort zone and get those creative juices flowing.

We thought we’d capitalise on this newfound freedom by setting our humans a challenge. In groups, we asked them to come up with what they thought Human Made’s reputation should be, currently is, and what it should never be. The catch? They had to get creative!

Whether by building a Lego model or cardboard diorama, creating costumes, filming and starring in a video, or even through the medium of song, the teams’ wide and varied interpretations of the brief did not disappoint!

Tears of laughter and many cringes ensued, but there were some really valuable takeaways around how people feel about working here, and the kind of company they want to belong to. I was pretty chuffed to see how proud people are of our culture, and it reinforced my firmly held belief that Human Made is only as strong as the ridiculously talented and brilliant humans we have here.

Finally, I’d like to give a big shoutout to the staff of the Negroponte resort in Evia for looking after us so well and going above and beyond to make sure our retreat was a total showstopper. I’m missing the Greek baklava already!