New work needs new formats!
Today, working from virtually anywhere is possible in a wide variety of forms and for many professional groups. What is important for individuals or teams when working on the road? What are the requirements? And above all, where is the journey heading?
We talked about this with Vanessa Thielemann, founder of BrALI CoWorkation Retreats. Vanessa studied culture and tourism management and gained diverse experience in festival, event and tourism management as well as in city marketing. She founded BrALI 2022. The idea: to bring teams working hybrid and remote back together. And more and more are doing so. Last year, a quarter of the workforce worked remotely/home office (Destatis 2022). For this purpose, BrALI develops team retreats & offsites – from the needs analysis, what the respective team needs, to the customized conception and implementation with sustainable added value – and thus accompanies teams & companies into the new working world.
Workstations, offsites, remote offices – flexible forms of work are becoming increasingly popular. What do you see as the biggest advantages/disadvantages for employers/employees?
a result of developments in recent years, more and more people who work remotely/hybridly appreciate the freedom, compatibility and creative freedom they have gained as a result. Very few people want to go back to the office completely. This also saves them time, money and CO2 emissions that many would otherwise have incurred through their daily commute.
It is also attractive for employers to enable their employees to work remotely. For many well-trained professionals, remote work is now a prerequisite when choosing an employer. It also allows employers to save on office costs.
The challenge with remote work, however, is keeping teams together, building trust and a “we” feeling. 72% of those who work remotely or in a home office also lack informal interaction (Deloitte, Flexible Working Study 2022). This used to take place “in the coffee kitchen” and is an important aspect – not only on a relationship level, but also for exchanging information. Creative processes such as brainstorming are also more difficult online.
So new places – and new formats – are needed.
At BrALI, how do you define the words retreat, offsite, and workation?
Currently, there are no clear definitions of what differentiates a team retreat from an offsite or a workation, often the terms are used interchangeably. However, there are often very different things needed or needs among teams. At BrALI, we therefore take a closer look at what the teams need and develop suitable concepts on this basis.
If the focus is on team building, we call it a team retreat. Some teams also use retreats for onboarding new team members. Team Offsites are often used as a kick-off for a new project or creative processes. Here, the focus is not on the team, but on a specific project or topic. At a Team Workation, on the other hand, the day-to-day business and processes of a normal workday continue at a different location outside the office. And in the evening, there’s an opportunity for the team to get together – around a campfire, for example – because that’s usually where the best conversations happen.
Sometimes the concepts are combined: Two days offsite for a joint and focused work in an inspiring place in nature, one day retreat with trust-building activities and then optionally two days workation to extend the time together, even if the daily business continues – because why not move the “home office” together to another place?
What issues are important to consider when a team wants to spend time together outside of the office?
First of all, it should be examined what exactly the team needs. And not only the boss should be involved in these considerations. The involvement of employees is generally an important factor in their identification with the company, especially among the younger generation. With the deep dive in the context of our needs analysis, we go into this and develop customized concepts based on this.
And depending on the requirements, a suitable setting is needed. When selecting a location, we make sure that it has the right infrastructure for creative brainstorming, team building or even office infrastructure for a joint workation in nature. And the program should also be designed to fit what the team needs. This starts with exercise in the morning, before working with the head and ends with a suitable joint finish in the evening.
There is no one fits all concept. And what is also important is the sustainable added value. So what does a team gain from getting out for two or three days? We shed light on this and work overall with sustainability aspects in mind. From travel to the selection of locations, catering and activities – to how remote work + retreats/offsites can be established in the company in the long term.
How do you think working from anywhere will evolve for us?
The topic will gain more and more momentum. Companies that are still trying to bring employees back to the office who could actually work from anywhere will have problems.
Remote work is a decisive factor in employee retention and recruitment, as well as in general employer attractiveness. Therefore, new concepts are needed. Here are a few examples: Coworking in rural areas to reduce travel distances, repurposing of office space, possibly in cooperation with other companies. This not only reduces costs, but the space thus freed up can also be developed into innovative meeting and creative hubs. This also enables interdisciplinary exchange, which is becoming increasingly important in today’s world and in solving complex problems.
Overall, the changes should be seen as an opportunity. It is a matter of courageously breaking new ground and perhaps setting out with a small team for the first time and trying out new formats.
The BrALI team is happy to support you in developing and implementing suitable concepts. BrALI has a broad network of nature-based workstation locations with suitable infrastructure, activities and programs. More information about BrALI can be found here: http://www.brali.org
Inspiration can also be found at the Coworking Festival in Berlin and Brandenburg from September 11-15 https://www.coworkingfestival.com
You want to know more about workation and great locations for it? HERE you can find our interview with Saskia Klinder from meetreet.
You want to see Saskia and Vanessa live? They will be exhibitors and program participants at this year’s Berlin Travel Festival. Be on the lookout for Workation Island.