Company retreats, Team offsites, and Travel with Purpose
Face-to-face time enables us to create relationships more easily and build trust. This improves our asynchronous communication as we become more comfortable interacting with each other, so we aim to be intentional in planning events regularly. This document outlines the different types of travel that we support and encourage. Just remember that every time you travel on Airbyte’s dime and time, we expect you to fully embody freedom & responsibility. Make every decision and spend every Airbyte dollar as if it were your own. Travel requires a lot of time, effort, and money, so we outlined some guidelines for in-person events below.
Last April, we had a company-wide retreat at our launch week. This was a truly amazing experience for us, and we want to replicate that experience once a year. Based on our team’s feedback and preferences, our next iteration in September/October with 2 separate groups is a way for us to make sure we can feel safe with regards to COVID when doing it the right way (more safety measures).
Company retreats will be a mix of work and play. We will typically have morning working sessions followed by afternoon fun activities and group dinners. For the working sessions, you can expect team-level brainstorms and cross-team collaboration sessions. Depending on when the retreat falls in a year, we may leverage the working sessions for quarterly planning and OKR based exercises.
The People Ops team will be fully responsible for planning these events and will provide you with all the information you need well in advance. Your presence during these events will always be highly encouraged.
Aside from the annual company retreat, we will also support team offsites. We encourage teams to get together once or twice a year, at the team’s discretion. Team offsites are intended for individual teams to come together in person with the goal to work, strengthen relationships, and get inspiration on how best to make progress on team projects and initiatives. Team offsites are meant for core teams, not large orgs, so it should be your core working group, though we will leave it up to team leads to organize the most valuable trip. If you are a 1-person team, you can of course coordinate trips with teams you collaborate closely with.
Although we have a globally dispersed team, we expect you to consider where the majority of the team is based when planning offsites. For example, if 4/6 people are based near a hub, it would be in Airbyte’s best interest to host the offsite in that hub to save time and costs. There may be instances where someone faces visa restrictions. We will do our best to reasonably get the team together, it could be in a neighboring country from the majority of the team, but realize that it could very likely require a hybrid approach (in-person and zoom attendees).
Teams will be in charge of initiating their own offsites, and starting in 2023, the People Ops team will help coordinate team offsites. Input and collaboration will be required from team managers throughout the planning process. There should also be 1 designated trip lead who can help plan smaller details with People Ops (ex. WeWork locations, restaurants, etc).
- 1.Team manager initiates the planning, working with People Ops to select a location/date
- 2.People Ops shares a trip plan with the team
- 3.People Ops kindly requests that each team member attending the offsite fill out a simple registration form to let People Ops know their individual plan/needs
- 4.The trip lead will help People Ops organize the details of the events
More to come on this process in early 2023
To start, Travel with Purpose (TWP) is a mindset more than anything. We expect all work travel to be purpose-driven and objective-oriented. Although we think Company Retreats and Team Offsites will solve for a lot of the in-person collaboration that is often missing in a remote first setting, there will always be circumstances that require travel outside of these two recurring event types. We absolutely don’t want you to wait for the annual retreat or a team offsite to get valuable work done if it requires in-person collaboration. This is where TWP comes into play.
You need to have a work purpose for your trip (ex. in-person brainstorming/planning with your team), and we trust people to use it when it will bring value to Airbyte. There won’t be a formal process for TWP and the People Ops team will not help organize or coordinate the event, so this is something you need to handle on your own.
Important: Every TWP trip needs to be logged on the company calendar called “Travel with Purpose” and we kindly ask that you invite [email protected] This makes Finance and People Ops aware of your trip, which is crucial to visibility.
There are. You will have several opportunities to meet with your team face to face every year, and we expect that you try your best to attend at least 1 event.
We understand some people might have visa constraints, so we will make sure to consider those for retreats and offsites to provide everyone an opportunity to attend an in-person event at least once per year.
- 1.Is this trip in Airbyte’s best interest?
- 2.What additional value will I add to Airbyte by traveling/working with colleagues in person vs. remote?
- 3.Where is most of the group located, and can we meet near that location to save planning resources? If the group is dispersed, what is the most reasonable place to meet?
- 4.Who should attend to achieve the core purpose and goals of the trip?
Is this purchase the best use of company money? How much should I spend on my flight? You deserve a comfortable journey so you should book a flight that gets you to your destinations in a reasonable amount of time and at a reasonable time of day. Airbyte will obviously not cover costs for First Class upgrades. Regarding Business, we will leave it to our Freedom and Responsibility company belief: is it the best way to spend company money? We encourage you to book your flight at least 2 weeks in advance. It is all of your good decisions in these scenarios that allowed us to create a freedom & responsibility policy in the first place, and will allow us to maintain it in the long run.
An effective trip will take time to plan everything – from coordinating schedules to booking flights, hotel and work spaces – so we recommend you start the planning 1-2 months in advance and have everything booked and finalized at least 2 weeks before your trip begins to avoid last-minute planning challenges.
If you plan to take a TWP trip to our San Francisco hub, please give People Ops a heads up so she can ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable visit and access to the office.
Airbyte will cover the costs associated with obtaining a tourist visa, but the People Ops team cannot offer hands-on support at this time for tourist visa application processes. However, People Ops would be happy to provide an employer letter upon request and connect you with our immigration lawyers if you need additional assistance. Please email special requests to [email protected] We strongly encourage you to get your visa approved in advance and before making travel arrangements. Keep in mind that due to COVID, application processing times are abnormally long in most countries.