Hosting company-wide Team Camps is crucial, here’s why

A couple of times a year Pleo does something that sounds pretty luxurious at first. We fly — all of us — from around the world to meet up somewhere. That means the team from our Copenhagen HQ join our remote workers from Quebec City, Cape Town, Milan (and lots of other places besides). Our last one was in Berlin.

It’s a major part of the Pleo DNA and involves workshops, socialising and everything in between. As a hyper-growth company of 140+ people and counting, these Team Camps can be big, bold and brilliant.

Our own co-founder Nicco has referred to it as a “logistical nightmare” but also knows the value of hosting different Team Camps four times a year. But yes, it’s a lot of people getting together with lots to do in 48 hours. So, why in the world would a business fly all of its colleagues from around the world to one place for a Team Camp?

What is a “Team Camp,” anyway?

Think of a Team Camp as a series of short-spurt inter-company hackathons, with everyone in one place. Team Camp is our opportunity to reconnect to our business goals, our purpose and to one another. We do a number of sessions with people from different parts of the business, while keeping it interactive with team activities. There are a lot of moving parts, but we try to make that part of the fun. So back to our initial question: Why in the world do we do these? 

We recalibrate our business goals

Amid all of our team’s achievements, Team Camp is when we hit pause and reflect. We shine a light on our different teams’ work to see what is working, what isn’t, and how aspects of our business could be approached from new angles.

Team Camp is a chance to start setting new ambitions for driving the future of better business spending for our users, and form our early hypotheses on what it takes to get there. It gives us the sense of purpose that we need to work together toward a common goal.

We meet our team members from around the world – old and new

Team Camp always kicks off with a favourite tradition of ours. Jeppe, our CEO and co-founder, introduces every new team member, all of whom are welcomed with dancing, clapping and cheers from the entire company. Since our last Team Camp, we have expanded from around 50 to over 140 people, meaning that this was a new experience for over half of the people that attended.

Pleo has an increasingly distributed team, with people in both our London and Copenhagen offices and a whole bunch working remotely. Team Camp is a great way to get the old-timers reunited with other familiar faces and for more meaningful intros to the many fresh faces too.

Realign our personal values and goals

Team Camp is a time of reflection, both on a business level and on a personal, individual level. We spend a lot of time taking stock of our own values and ideas and look at how we can translate those into our work. With a cohesive understanding of our business and perspective on what each team will be working on, it’s easier to understand what our work means.

It’s important that we know what’s next for us, and acknowledge that we’ll have our work cut out for us. Key people in our business give us an overview of what’s next for Pleo. We work together across teams, setting priorities that align with our business goals. This includes discussion and team brainstorms on transforming our business model and hypothetically launching Pleo in new markets.

This lets us connect the dots between different parts of our company, to see the bigger picture and make sure we’re still following our North Star.

Celebrate our wins

One of the best things for us to see is the growth we’ve gone through as a company, as well as to look at the obstacles we’re going to have to overcome next. This helps us to recognise that even though we’ve almost doubled in size since the last Team Camp, we all have an important role to build a better future for company spending.

Team Camp is a time to celebrate, a time to rally the troops, and reunite to look forward to what’s next. Part of that is camaraderie. Take a personal highlight in Berlin as an example: starting a flash mob through the streets – portable Soundboks in hand – all pumped about Pleo together. And shout out to the ordinary Berliners who, in their confusion, joined us on the run!

More than anything, Team Camps allow us to get out of the office with our colleagues to work and develop new ideas, with a clear sense of how our efforts will help grow the company.

We get to experience the business from different angles, while enjoying quality time with some friendly faces.  It’s crucial to keep us motivated, and united together to work towards a common goal. Engaging with one another face-to-face can’t be beaten. So even though this is crazy hard work and dedication from a lot of the team: we see it as a crucial part of helping Pleo to succeed.