Hope you know that something like an online party exists.
Have you already taken part in one and maybe had a great time?
I had, and I’m about to tell you how it was.
Being a part of SoftwareMill, I know how remote work feels like because we are the remote first company. Zoom, Hangout, TeamSpeak, Slack - that is the way I talk and meet with my team every day.
Additionally once a month we meet in person at “Friday birr”. We spent the whole day working, chatting, bantering and creating new universes, but first of all, having a great time. Twice a year we spent the whole weekend together. In autumn we meet with families and during spring - without (employees only retreat) 😊
It all started with the disappointment…
March 13, 2020 was meant to be a very, very special date for each single member of the SoftwareMill family. Plane tickets were purchased, hotel booked, suitcases packed…. Then, suddenly the whole world stopped and became different.
So much different than we knew before. Some parts of the new reality were easy for us. We’ve been used to working remotely, being wise with 10 years of remote company experience. Some parts were new. All travels, long or short, needed to be canceled. Our “special trip” too.
However we still wanted to meet, we wanted to have this quality time together, we wanted to have fun as a team.
Our thinking was:
- we are in lockdown,
- being remote is in our blood.
1+2 = remote party!
And it happened, and it was... Szimano already told you :-)
But one remote party wasn’t enough for us. We all missed our monthly get togethers and knew the importance of just enjoying each other's company. This is the moment when the Grand SoftwareMill Tournament was born. No, you haven't misheard at all. We do have a Great Tournament at SoftwareMill, and it is a team tournament.
How to connect remote teams: our experiences
The agenda and rules
Agenda is simple:
- We meet on-line, no surprise. 😊
- We make sure that everyone has pitca (special SoftwareMill pizza) and beer/other drinks in place. 🍕🍕🍕
- We draw teams.
- We play a game.
- We count points and announce the winner. Top 3 teams get points - 3 points for the 1st place, 2 for 2nd, and 1 for the 3rd. Points from subsequent games are summarized as part of the Grand SoftwareMill Tournament ranking. Five people with the highest score wins and will get the Magic Award.
- We party and afterparty online - the night belongs to us!
You may think that it looks like nothing special. As usual - the devil lies in the details. A whole bunch of tiny things make the event great or poor. The right time that suits people, good organization with providing event dedicated online space, understandable rules, good pizza… All is very important, however, in my humble opinion, the Game is the main attraction.
The game we chose
We’ve considered several scenarios how to play. Finally, the conclusion was that we needed a dedicated and professional person, from outside of the company, who will lead the game. Believe me, in March, it wasn’t easy to find an online party game leader. Decision was to start with something simple, quiz seemed like a good idea.
Last year we played a PubQuiz, so I’ve reached Concept Games, owner of the brand. It was a completely new idea for them, but they discussed internally how-to, and finally, we set a rehearsal. Everything went smoothly.
On April 3, Concept Games ran for SoftwareMill, the first, for us and for them, online quiz game. Different topics, from music to math, and lots of difficult questions. Stronger together - no one would be able to answer them separately. Being a team of 5, we were able to crash most questions. It was a fun challenge. I was surprised how broad knowledge people have! Many times I couldn’t resist asking - how do you know that? Asked person answered, despite the time limitation, sometimes even a linked story appeared... And suddenly we know each other better, we gain friends.
Few weeks later (22 of April) we organized another event, based on the CrimePub game. As you may guess, the game was inspired by a criminal riddle. And again, each team member had a little different perception of the situation, and noticed other crime details. We benefit from our differences, practice how to explain point of view to others, how to persuade and how to open our minds to other possibilities. I felt like we really chase a murder!
Currently we are preparing the next “Birr online”. What is gonna happen - it's still a secret. Especially for you, I can lift a secret - that party will a little bit different but at the same time exceptional, as usual 😊
You may wonder, if this kind of remote event can replace a face to face meeting? The answer is NO. Don’t treat it like that. For the same reason it’s hard to compare a paintball and dinner. Although both could be great team building activities. No matter what we do, crucial is that we do it together.