Smells like team spirit!
Coming Together as a Remote Business
As a remote company, it’s often hard to get to know your colleagues. It’s certainly harder to know someone remotely than it is when you’re working face-to-face in an office. At 10to8, we’re committed to building relationships with our peers on both a personal and professional level. Hence our September SPACE week.
You might be wondering what space has to do with remote working. Well, in this case, we aren’t talking about stars and planetary bodies. You see, 10to8’s CEO has a thing for acronyms: SPACE stands for Substitute Party in Autumn not Christmas with Everyone and was pretty much what it sounds like — one great party.
Why was SPACE week important?
Well, it was a company-wide event that lasted an entire week — much longer than your average work Christmas party. More importantly, we wanted to host something inclusive as not everybody celebrates Christmas.
We set ourselves out to bring everyone together in beautiful Cambridge, where 10to8’s journey began, and Beth, our HR Manager, compiled a week of fun, including wining, dining, bowling, and escaping. So people came from wide and far: we flew our employees in from India, the United States, and all over the UK, of course.
“It was a really great and rewarding challenge to organize the SPACE week. For most of us at 10to8, it was a way to get together face-to-face for the first time! I enjoyed every minute of us bonding in teams and as a whole. And everyone in 10to8 made it a huge success.” — Beth, HR, 10to8
Some people have been at 10to8 for years and others have only for a few weeks — but soon it felt like we’ve been working together forever.
“I've never joined a company and been shipped out to meet everyone within the first two weeks — this was a first. What an amazing way to feel part of the team straight away! It's an interesting experience meeting colleagues from around the world virtually and then seeing them in person a few weeks later. It almost feels a bit surreal, especially when they've traveled from the other side of the world. I loved seeing the diversity at the meals as well as hearing stories and tales of life across the globe.” — Harvey, Sales, 10to8
The Queen’s Award
We kicked things off with our official presentation of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of International Trade. The 10to8ers who made it to Cambridge by this time could attend in person but we also broadcasted the event to make sure everybody could take part.
Those who attended in person got to meet Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant Mrs. Julie Spence, who presented the scroll and described the award as “The knighthood of British business”. The award became all the more prominent later on in the week following the news of the beloved Queen’s death.
“Our brilliant international team was recognized with this honor. We listen to our customers so we can provide exceptional customer experience and this award is a milestone that celebrates this collaboration.” — Richard Hills, Managing Director, 10to8
As a company, we felt honored to have been awarded one of the last-ever Queen’s Awards and it was an incredible start to an incredible week.
What happened next?
In the days following the Queen’s Award presentation, we had a team-building-focused, versatile itinerary, with a different fun activity every evening.
This included bowling, escape rooms, punting, team dinners, a walking tour of Cambridge, and BBQ and karaoke at the CEO’s house.
“The punting and bowling were definitely my favorite activities and seeing our team lead rowing the boat (and in control of whether we capsized or not) definitely gave ‘leading from the front’ a whole new meaning.” — Harvey, Sales, 10to8
As a remote company, unless we book in time to speak with other teams, it’s a lot more challenging to have a relationship with your colleagues than if you work face-to-face. So, it was lovely to spend so much time with people who we rarely get a chance to work with.
“The SPACE Week was an excellent opportunity for us as a company to meet and network with each other. All of the activities were very well organized and brought the teams closer. I'm looking forward to the next one!” — Karan, Marketing, 10to8
Being split into mixed teams also gave us the chance to speak to and collaborate with people who we might never have worked with before, improving our collaboration skills and our relationships with people across the company.
“The SPACE week was so much fun. Getting to work face-to-face with a team I've known for some time now was really lovely and we had a lot of fun both inside and outside of work. Getting used to working remotely is something many companies have had to deal with, but that face-to-face factor still can't be beaten.” — James, Engineering, 10to8
The importance of company culture
With any remote company, the culture and environment you work in is so important. Negative vibes can easily spiral into a negative environment and communication is much easier to misread over virtual messages than it is in person. That’s why events like this are a wonderful way to ensure the culture remains positive, people understand each other, and build strong working relationships.
“I had such a great time at SPACE week, getting to meet the people I work with — most of them for the first time! It feels like we were all brought closer together and had the opportunity to get to know each other outside of work too. It was really nice to try all of the lovely snacks that our colleagues from India brought over and I can't wait to do it all again next year.” — Corrine, Customer Support, 10to8
Here at 10to8, we work very hard to maintain a positive culture. In fact, since the company began in 2011, culture has been one of the most crucial things for the founders.
The SPACE week was designed to allow us to get to know one another, and improve company culture, and it’s safe to say that it succeeded on both counts.
‘As my first time in England and Europe, I was so happy to meet everyone at 10to8 and experience Cambridge. The architecture of all of the Colleges and buildings is so beautiful. I was not looking forward to punting at first, but it was easily my favorite experience I had all week because of all the gorgeous surroundings. It was so wonderful being able to spend some time in the same room with people I've worked with for a few months and put faces to names. I love how our team is spread across so many countries and everyone was able to come together and share their experiences and customs. It was an experience I am so grateful for and will always treasure.” — Amanda, Customer Success, 10to8
Wrapping up a wonderful week
We often celebrate results like hitting revenue targets, amazing customer reviews, big projects etc. But, since we work remotely from across the globe, it's easy to forget to celebrate culture. The week in Cambridge was exactly that: the celebration of people behind the brand and a reminder of how important culture and getting to know your teammates really is.
Not only that, but it was also a lot of fun! We could have a laugh, celebrate wins, and work together to solve puzzles. Plus, since we’re a Cambridge-based company, it was about time we all got to try a Cambridge classic, punting, which is a lot harder than it looks and much of that time was spent crashing into walls!
"I always thought that start-ups had the most amazing culture. The excitement of half a dozen people just absolutely going for it and doing whatever it takes to grow while supporting each other just like family has always attracted me. But it's easy to uphold that culture when it's a handful of people who you know by middle name and beverage preference. I've worked at 10to8 for more than four years now and what blew my mind about the SPACE week is that even though the business has multiplied in revenue, customer base, and staff, the culture remains the same. We still do whatever it takes, we still go bowling, and we still have a BBQ at the CEO's house. The only thing that has changed is that now I struggle to remember last names too. It's been a wonderful experience — the week and the last few years equally.” — Anna, Marketing, 10to8
You simply don’t get to experience this kind of fun at most companies, even less so when you’re working from home. So I, and I sincerely suspect most of 10to8, will be forever grateful for this opportunity and will be counting down the days until the next one.
(Psst! We are always looking for like-minded people to join us — go check out our open career opportunities!)