If the winter blues are already starting to drag you down, then you should probably stop reading right here. This morning Chris Thür, CEO of Yousician (the new name for Ovelin) rang me up to essentially brag about how they rented Greece’s largest villa for a month, and have taken their entire team and families down there. He was nicer about it than that, but that’s how I took it.
The concept somewhat started off in July when Yousician took their entire team to Saarenmaa, the largest island off the coast of Estonia, for a little teambuilding and to spend some time focusing on how they could improve the product. There it kind of clicked that they only needed their computers to get work done, and with their office under renovation started looking for a place to go, as long as they could convince four people on their team to go along. After more and more people were interested in attending, they eventually roped in 16 of their 17 team members and their families for a total of 30 people on sunny shores of Greece.
Thür points out that they actually did it very cheap, with the cost to the company being only slightly higher than what their new monthly rent will be. It’s not tourist season in Greece so the price level was lower, and the company only covered the internet, shipping of equipment, and the Villa, which includes hotel-like rooms, a huge common space, and a space they’re using as an office. Their employees covered their own flights if they wanted to come, are still working full days with essentially the same schedule, except most are taking an extended lunch to head down to the beach because it’s getting dark early in the evenings.
“Its actually quite the same as Finland,” says Thür. “It’s not a holiday retreat or a family thing, but its a work trip. We start at 9, do the regular 10 AM stand ups, but the big difference is that the spouses that are here are also working, but they’re at our office.”
It looks like a successful teambuilding exercise, however. Yousician recently hired five new people and the evening jam sessions by their villa’s pool have brought the team together. One of their employees, based just north of Sydney, Austrailia also flew in for the occasion, which was the first time they all met in person. Another side benefit is that we’re talking about their trip right now, which makes us all wish we worked for Yousician.
This video gives you a little sense of what they’re up to down there:
ArcticStartup is thinking about doing something similar in Spain with our region’s startups this February, which we’ll share more about as everything gets confirmed. But until then, if this sparks any ideas in any companies contact Greg@ArcticStartup for an embedded reporter.