Good Times & Takeaways from Josh.ai’s 2022 Company Retreat
A Need for In-Person Interaction in a Remote-Work World
The world has completely changed over the last few years. Before the pandemic, only 20% of Americans worked from home, whereas 71% of our workforce works from home today. This shift has its positives and negatives. Our society now has a much more flexible work-life culture; people can move wherever they want to set down roots without worrying about a commute to the office, enjoy being with their pets throughout the day, and spend more time with loved ones. However, this shift has also created a disconnect between co-workers. Many people who started new jobs during the pandemic have not had a chance to meet their fellow team members or managers in-person. The virtual transition has led to lesser engagement and mutual connection that can only be cultivated in an office environment.
To close this gap and bring everyone together at Josh.ai, we believe that a retreat at least once a year helps build our dynamic company culture. Over the course of last week’s retreat, we were able to strategize around future goals while having plenty of fun bonding in the process.
The first day of our retreat was quite enjoyable with many people getting to meet face-to-face for the first time. Team members spent the first couple of hours getting to know one another; from where they are from, to what they do, and why they are passionate about what we are building at Josh.ai.
After the introductions were out of the way, it was time to dive into meetings and work sessions. Our co-founders, Alex Capecelatro (CEO) and Tim Gill (CTO), kicked things off with an inspiring speech to set the tone for the day’s activities.
One of my favorite parts of the retreat was the annual Josh Innovation Challenge. For this challenge, we were randomly divided into teams and tasked with developing a new product, market, or use case for Josh.ai. One of our most recent developments, Josh Core, came out of this challenge a few years ago and goes to show that our brainstorming can lead to inspiring innovation.
It was a great experience to work with members of our engineering, sales, business, and design teams to leverage our various skillsets. Having this kind of cross-departmental opportunity and hearing insights from everyone was quite interesting. This year, the team with the best idea, which was voted on by the company as a whole, won our special edition chrome Josh Micros. I can not share the winning team’s idea just yet, but I can say it is pretty neat!
To wrap up a productive day one, we went to Viewhouse Ballpark for drinks and a few competitive corn hole matches before heading to the Colorado Rockies game.
After spending day one in the office, it was time for team building and bonding in the Colorado mountains. We split into two groups; one went white water rafting down Clear Creek while the other went on a rigorous hike up the St. Mary’s Glacier. Both activities were opportunities to open up outside of our day-to-day and interact in settings where working relationships grow into friendships.
We reconvened for lunch, which was grilled by our very own Scott Salzman, before the first annual Josh.ai Olympics. The company was split into two teams with the events including corn hole, pie-eating, and more fun challenges. It was a blast to see the friendly competition and hear a little trash talk from co-workers.
After the games, we headed up to Breckenridge, CO, for a group dinner and a night out on the town!
After an action packed couple of days, the team headed back to Denver where the retreat concluded with a lunch at our CTO’s home in Cherry Creek. It was a treat for everyone to see Tim’s property with its combination of architectural design and technology serving as inspiration for the experience we’re building at Josh.ai. Before saying their goodbyes, it was great to hear everyone reflect on our time together and recap the lasting ideas that will help drive our team going forward.
Back to Reality
Over the past three years, employees have become more isolated as office attendance is no longer necessary for many jobs. Being away from communal work spaces has created disconnects between co-workers, which can lead to decreased productivity. As a startup, finding ways to align our priorities and goals is essential. Spending time working as well as having fun getting to know each other, mentally and physically being able to relate to each other; gives us a better sense of pride and motivation regarding teamwork and the company overall. The Josh Team loved the three days of team building and reconnection after a rough couple of years of getting used to working from home over a computer. We are excited for what the future holds for Josh.ai and can’t wait to keep innovating for the future’s smart home.
Max is a member of the Josh.ai Business Development team. Originally from Connecticut, Max graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.