Taiwan & San Diego•
Happily's team retreat was fantastic! It allowed our team to reach a new levels of cohesion and acted as a catalyst to support truly impactful working relationships.
At the heart of Happily is our remote team of humans based all across the US and around the world, including Mexico, Jamaica, Australia, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines. As Team Happily continues to grow, in 2022 Happily HQ welcomed many new folks into our Slack channels, and new faces into our Zoom meetings. However, this team retreat was much more than simply an opportunity to meet team members in person. As a group of naturally adventurous and curious people, it was a chance for us to explore, eat, laugh, learn, and share new experiences together.
Across two days, our hybrid team retreat was hosted in Taiwan for those based in Asia, and in San Diego for those based in North America. Any team members who were unfortunately not able to attend in person, virtually joined for the end-of-year All Hands Meeting.
The goal of our Happily HQ Hybrid Team Retreat was to curate an itinerary in each location that would allow our teams to feel connected, and inspired. Above all, we wanted folks to enjoy themselves, and the company of each other.
My experience at the retreat was wonderful. It was such a pleasure meeting, and getting to know so many of the team members. Also as this was my first Happily week, it was so cool to learn more about the companies day to day, and what everyone’s role was in the bigger picture. Happily is truly filled with so much amazing love and passion, which clearly showed during the all hands meeting and over the course of the weekend. Overall, it exceeded expectations and I look forward to more to come.
In Taiwan, the team flew into the dynamic city of Taipei. As the adoptive home of our Founder and CEO, Sarah Shewey, the team was able to experience Taiwan like a local. After being collected from the airport in the morning, the team gathered for a tour of the city, and some quick must-do sightseeing at the Da'an Park and National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. For lunch the team experienced a feast of delicious local dishes at the iconic Din Tai Fung, a world renowned Taiwanese original restaurant.
In the early afternoon the team traveled south to the historic Tainan City via the High-speed Rail, which for some was a first-time experience. After settling into a spacious Airbnb, the team enjoyed a classic Chinese hotpot dinner, and a quiet evening wandering around the peaceful streets of Tainan.
In the morning the Taiwan group logged into the All Hands Meeting, synching up with the San Diego and virtual attendees. This was a time for Happily HQ to reflect on the previous year, plan for the year ahead, and align goals as a team. In the early afternoon the team had some space to rest and recharge before venturing out again to explore the sites of Tainan. For dinner the team headed to the city’s famed Garden Night Market 台南花園夜市 to experience an abundance of local and traditional food stalls and cuisine options. Afterwards they strolled down Old Shennong Street, a landmark avenue that dates back to the Qing Dynasty. Lined with enchanting lanterns, gift shops, bars and traditional homes, this quaint and historic area was the perfect way to conclude a busy day.
In San Diego extreme weather across the US wreaked havoc, delaying and canceling flights for our team coming on domestic and international journeys. As those team members who were able to get to San Diego arrived in the late afternoon, they checked into The Pearl Hotel, a charming mid-century destination in the seaside community of Point Loma. Dinner was accompanied by a movie night, with food served by the pool at The Pearl, with a movie projected on the big screen.
The team enjoyed a relaxing and chill start to the day, bonding over brunch at The Pearl Hotel. In the early afternoon, they headed to the dock for a private sailing yacht experience with Sail San Diego. On this 3 hour private charter, the team were able to bask in some sunshine, take in the gorgeous San Diego views, and enjoy eachothers company. As the night fell, it was time for the San Diego group to log into the All Hands Meeting, syncing up with the Taiwan and virtual attendees.
It’s amazing that we gathered locally and globally, IRL and online! Happy to see the team enjoyed visiting my hometown and experiencing our culture. The most important thing is, we feel more bonded as a team.
Happily’s first onsite team retreat was a wonderful experience for all involved - no matter where in the world they were! In each destination the teams were given an environment in which to deepen their bonds of friendship, and harmony. As a remote international workplace, the opportunity to share social and travel adventures together in real life is invaluable. As we all returned to our own cities, countries and home offices, we entered the new year ahead with a renewed sense of purpose, connection and a stronger-than-ever work culture.
Seeing all the faces I normally see on screen in person was a treat, the entire team welcomed each other with warmth and hugs. This did not surprise me because even while working remotely I felt the care our team has for each other. This speaks to the quality experience Happily provides in the remote working environment. Simply put, the Happily team retreat was refreshing and a blast, I can't wait for the next!