Twice a year, the entire company gathers in Dallas for a week. Your first meet-up may be overwhelming; there are all of two people to meet 😜, most or all of whom you’ve only chatted with virtually. People tend to arrive to Dallas on the Sunday before the meet-up. Box Products books a hotel room block in a hotel nearby, so you don’t need to worry about finding a place to stay.
Every morning, we gather for breakfast at 8am, and sessions start around 9am. The meet-up is not structured. There are some scheduled talks - Jonathan will typically talks about the state of the company on Monday or Tuesday morning, and other team members may want to give a talk about a special circumstance they’ve seen in the past 6 months. Occasionally, we bring in outside speakers, too. But, day-to-day, the meet-up is very loosely scheduled. Teams work together in a room at the office; people go out for coffee or ice cream; managers schedule one-on-ones with employees.
Lunch is also shared in the office at noon, and dinners are up to you aside from one all-company dinner on Tuesday evening.
It’s important to acknowledge that meet-ups are tiring for a lot of us. We’re away from our family, friends, and home for a week. We’re interacting all day with coworkers when we’re used to working from home. We’re having fun and perhaps not getting much sleep. Remember that the meet-up is what you want it to be. If you want to skip dinner one night, skip dinner and take a bath in your hotel room. If you need some recharge time, and want to work from a coffee shop one afternoon, do it! If you want to go to the tiki bar at 2am, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Most people leave on Friday during the work day. You should come to every meet-up, but if you have a pre-planned vacation or other engagement you can’t cancel, you won’t be admonished for missing one or two.
One of the sessions that we do schedule every meet-up is the recognition celebration. A few months before a meet-up, Jonathan asks everyone to think about their colleagues who have made Box Products a better place to work. Ideas range from professional excellence to the personal. At the meet-up, we set aside an hour for everyone to stand up and speak to their colleagues’ accomplishments or general awesomeness over the previous 6 months. At this time we also give awards to employees on their 5, 10, 15 year anniversaries at Box Products.
Once every month or two, everyone in the company is called upon to do a Support shift. We call it Everyone on Support (EOS). Talking directly to customers all day helps us realize what’s wrong, what’s right, and what’s utterly confusing about our products. For the first few times you do EOS, you’ll have a Support buddy to help you write clear and correct answers to customer questions through Help Scout, our support response tool, but then you’re on your own! But don’t worry - Team OMG is always there to help you out.
We have a desire to always hear from our team, both relationally and professionally. How this will look is still fluid and will be a work in progress as we grow as a team. For now, we’re accepting ideas but believe we’re small enough being relational should come with ease.
As we grow we’ll continue to evaluate this. One idea would be to adopt Basecamp’s 5x12s model but this could potentially look another way as well.