100 Point Challenge Amsterdam event leader Anne-Marie is also the co-founder of new company- Out of Office Workations. They are helping shape the future of how we work. We interviewed Anne-Marie to find out what a Workation is, how it can benefit teams, and her experience so far.
So Anne-Marie, tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up in Amsterdam?
That’s a long story - but to make it short… Three years ago I was looking for a place in Europe where I could live my two big passions: shaping the future of work and kitesurfing. Amsterdam is great for both - there are tons of startups as well as innovative projects in the city, and the sea is only a 30 minutes train ride away. There’s so much opportunity to meet a diverse crowd of super interesting innovators and entrepreneurs, and I connected to a great kitesurf community. It started as a courageous experiment and has definitely succeeded. Now I call it home!
And how did you come up with the idea for workations?
You might already guess it… It’s the perfect combination of my passions. I want to contribute to shaping the future of work by establishing new ways of working. A workation is the combination of work and vacation. It’s a team event with work elements, such as co-working sessions, trainings or design sprints, and leisure elements, such as team building activities, sports or cultural activities. I am a fan of all of those. Over the last few years, I developed a unique approach for combining them to create a tailored experience for my workation guests.
Tell us a bit more- what are workations all about?
More and more teams work distributed or remotely. That means they communicate mainly online, which makes it more difficult to establish personal connections and engage in conversations that are relevant for the whole group - topics such as strategy, innovation, learning and development, team or company culture. A workation gives the space to work on those face-to-face for a few days. Lot’s of startups already see the benefit and organize team retreats regularly, for example two times per year or even more often. They even promote it as an employee benefit to attract talent - who doesn’t want to work for a company that trusts their employees to take ownership of their job and get as much done in a beautiful finca by the sea as in a grey office under close supervision?
What locations are you currently working in / what types of workations do you currently offer?
Let me start by saying that Out of Office Workations deeply cares about sustainability and taking care of our planet. Travel always means environmental impact, so we try to reduce that impact and make the best out of that investment. We advise our clients to consider nearby locations and try to work with partners that support sustainability as well. If it’s possible, we encourage the group to get in contact with locals, in order to exchange knowledge and experiences and thus make the travel count. As long as the location fits to those values, it can be anywhere! We have partners among others in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Estonia and Bulgaria, and are expanding that network constantly.
What are the benefits of going on a workation?
That really depends on the goals of the team. Some workations are really work-focused. The team wants to finish a project or develop a result with focus in an inspiring environment. Or a team wants to get inspiration by visiting clients, partners or even competitors in another city or country. Often, workations happen parallel to industry conferences and trade fairs. Other workations are really aimed at nourishing team culture and providing a benefit to the team. It’s a great opportunity to work on projects that support team culture or company culture, like planning internal communication measures or aligning on team responsibilities. There should always be some time during the workation for people to just unwind, relax, recharge their batteries and simply enjoy. Barbeques, camp fires, beach walks, or just hanging out at the pool are perfect for that.
What has your experience been like so far?
We only started operations about a year ago - but got a lot of great feedback so far. Participants in our workations mostly value the human connection that’s built when a group of people stays together in one house, away from the usual work environment, for a few days. They describe it as inspirational, enabling creativity and deep connection. They also love the diversity of the experience. There are new ways of working together and there are so many possible team activities: cooking events, cultural tours, yoga, bike tours, surfing, hiking, city tours - and of course scavenger hunts, one of my favourite team building activities! That’s why we love the 100point challenge so much.
How did you become involved with the 100 Point Challenge?
I became aware of it when Dan, one of the co-founders, was looking for test participants when launching operations in Amsterdam. I immediately loved the idea, reached out and as they say, the rest is history. I am now regularly facilitating company events for the 100 Point Challenge and integrating them into my workation packages.
How does Workations align with the 100 Point Challenge?
The 100 Point Challenge is a great team building event. The group has to master a challenge together in a playful environment. The behaviours are similar to typical problem solving behaviours in the work context - but the setting as a game helps the group to experiment and try out behaviours they might not always dare to try in the work context. For example, to succeed in the 100 Point Challenge it is essential to ask bypasses on the street for help. It’s a great exercise for customer research in the context of customer-centric design. So the 100 Point Challenge really gives a triple benefit. Fun, team building and professional development. That aligns 100% with the goals of any workation!
How do you we find out more about going on an Out of Office Workation?
Have a look at our website workation.works. Some startups also publish great experience reports. I love this one from Close “How to crush remote team retreats” or this one from eCurring “8 tips for an epic & productive workation”. And of course, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at: email@example.com.
Thanks for your time Anne-Marie, we look forward to going on a team 100 Point Challenge workation in the not-too-distant future!!