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Why We Invest in Face-to-Face Connection to Help Remote Work Thrive

Alyssa LashbrookNovember 14, 2023

Every year we take a few days in the fall to get the full Think Shift team together somewhere new. This has always been a vital part of our culture, but having moved to a remote company in 2020, it’s even more important that we continue this tradition.

Last year, we engaged in a company-wide brainstorm to rename our “retreat”. We felt like the word was too plain and didn’t properly represent our company culture. The result? We flipped it backwards and called it Taerter; a reminder for us to never settle for normal and challenge the status quo.

Taerter 2023

This year we went out to Whistler, BC, to connect in person, spend quality time together and share stories from the past year. It was a whirlwind couple of days, and while we have all settled back into routine, we all took away something new to fuel us for the next year.

We invited a few of our team members to share their biggest takeaways and summarize their experience at Taerter 2023:

I’m impressed at how our retreats embody our core values and give us a stage to all walk the talk. This year’s retreat was full of stories about challenges that we’ve overcome and how we’ve worked together to make ourselves a better organization. The level of transparency that came from all of our speakers at every level of the business was quite emotional. I always appreciate that, as a company, we speak plainly and honestly, free from fluff or corporate jargon. I left those storytelling sessions feeling closer to all of my co-workers with a better appreciation of how far we have come this past year and I am inspired to take their learnings and apply them to my work.

- Alex Rohne, Group Account Director

The retreat meant a lot to me. Meeting our team in person was nothing less than therapy. It was a great experience to go on a short walk with my team, take selfies with them, and chat with them about non-work-related things. Thanks to this, it helped in building a strong connection.

We had some great times together, like team-building activities and outings. I learned a lot from them, both work-related stuff and some cool life insights. The team's vibe was super positive and welcoming, and I loved the culture they had built.

- Deepak Malhora, Senior Graphic Designer

Being remote, sometimes it's easy to forget how rewarding it feels to share space with people you enjoy face to face.

I look forward to retreat every year because it's my chance to hug everyone I've stared at over zoom, and joke around with folks I rarely connect with on the job. Think Shift employees are generally hilarious, creative, hobbyists and there's nothing better than getting all those interesting folks in one place and having a party.

I love that Think Shift allows employees to influence some of the activities and overall vibe of the week. It reminded me how fortunate I am, and how grateful I feel to connect with cool people in a beautiful place.

- Eden Carter, Head of Production and Cinematography

For me, the retreat was great for a number of reasons. One main thing is it helped build a stronger team dynamic. It helps you understand everyone better which makes working together so much easier. It makes everything feel more real when you're dealing with people instead of their profile picture. Finally, it makes you feel like you belong to something as opposed to working by yourself.

- Jason Ellis, Development Manager

My first Taerter was such an incredible experience. While remote work has always been my preference, I still love getting to know my teammates and thrive in a collaborative setting. Meeting everyone in person was such a necessary next step in bettering our work! As I begin to work on new clients and with new teams, we can come into projects with a better understanding of each other, the way we approach our work and how we can work together to elevate each other. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to get to know everyone even just a little bit better!

- Shannon Godelie, Senior Copy Strategist

Taerter 2023 was a testament to the vitality of human connection, fueling our passion to continue thriving in the realm of remote work, armed with the knowledge that the bonds we forge in person are the cornerstone of our success as a team and a company.

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