WordCamp Europe – Opportunity for team building

Firstly, starting writing this blog post, I have been thinking about why I’d wish to share this experience. Altogether being a WordPress Community member, I believe showcasing whatever we find interesting may inspire others. Thus, that’s the reason behind this post.

Working remotely for two years now, I have never had the opportunity to meet my team in person. I have to blame the pandemic for that. I had met some of these amazing people in the past. But then, I was a volunteer in WCEU 2018 and a Sponsors’ Wrangler in WordCamp Athens 2019. Yet, I wasn’t working with WPMU DEV at that time.

However, now I am truly thankful that WPMU DEV’s supporting me in contributing to the WordPress Community. All through the Five for the Future initiative. As a matter of fact, I highly appreciate the opportunity to be part of the WordCamp Europe 2022 organizing team. You see when you contribute you need to invent and not just invest time if you don’t have enough available. WPMU DEV gave me this option. At the same time, the opportunity to experience Porto with the WPMU DEV team members was a blast.

From an HR perspective

For the past year, I have been working with some exceptional people. Yes, it was my 1st anniversary at Incsub’s HR team a few days ago. Basically, I am really glad and proud to share this experience. It’s a new trend to rename HR worldwide as Peoples’ Operations to sound more appealing. I find it far better per my experience. In other words, HR isn’t only about recruiting, payroll, hiring, and letting people go. To clarify, Human Resources is about people, company culture, and ethics. Evidently, team building is part of the job.

Does working from home lack something?

Communication is paramount when working remotely. But let’s be honest, it’s not the same as working in the same room with people. For sure, it’s not as easy to get to know them better. Indeed, we use tools for daily communications, work, and fun team activities online. However, having the opportunity to hug, drink a beer, and have some pizza isn’t something your notebook can provide.

Waiting for a pizza (not with pineapple for me) and chit-chatting with the team

Once in a while, it is refreshing to spend time in person with our colleagues. Right?

Where does WordCamp Europe fit in this? Let me explain.

Why WCEU?

You see, WCEU is the biggest flagship event around the WordPress ecosystem. And it gathers around 3k people from all around the world. Their interest isn’t only attending talks or getting to know the sponsors and speakers. Honing their skills, grabbing some swag, or buying or selling services isn’t their only concern.

Their interest is networking, forming new partnerships, hiring, or applying for a job. Some companies might bring over to the event their whole crew. Others try to fly over their key people or those who live closer to the location.

How do team-building activities help you build an effective team?

When managing a team, especially one that works virtually, you value teamwork and cooperation. But to enhance the communication between the team members, you need to help them establish mutual trust. Building consensus on shared values to foster relationships and genuine companionship is equally influential. 

Another way to help your colleagues connect is to get to know each other better by sharing daily life stories. Teamwork means encouraging them to share the workload even during activity. Don’t forget to celebrate whenever the team accomplishes something together. Particularly ask them to practice feedback among the team members. That shouldn’t be a privilege of the management team or leaders only. 

Some activities may reveal your team’s astonishing amount of unconventional thinking that you’re not familiar with. Especially activities that have to do with strategies and implementation.

Team activities uncover and showcase the team’s diversity, responsible for identifying team-leading skills.

Identifying responding to stressful times

Using a team-building activity, you can test how your team members work together or think under pressure. How well do they respond to instructions, and how do they manage resources? You can easily come up with the answer through an activity. At the same time, you can see how people respond to arguments and understand their viewpoints better.

It’s also fun!

Outdoors team activities can help build creative problem-solving skills. At the same time, activities result in tons of laughter which is the best way to bond with the team. Don’t forget the storytelling. Everyone now shares the same story. You have established a common experience. Maybe even inside jokes. (We do have some stories untold.)

Encourage your coworkers to show their support and appreciation to make colleagues feel nice and warm. Reinforce the company culture by cultivating a team that supports each other through and through.

Remember that team-building activities before an event work great as an ice-breaker. Even more important for events where teams don’t know each other well.

Are you ready to improve team chemistry among employees?

I might not consider grabbing a coffee, having a drink, dining together, walking around the city, and sightseeing as activities. However, still, you have the opportunity of getting to know everyone better. In addition, it’s a necessary part of strengthening communication and relationships.

Suppose you’ve met before, even better. You have the opportunity to establish stronger bonds.

This time, my team taught me how to play darts, table football, and billiard. I might be a teenager again.

Select the team activities

That’s easy. If a local is among the team members, you can ask for their help. Finding out the availability and type of team activities you could give a try can be tricky. A significant reason is that resources aren’t always in the language you speak. If no one could be of help, do your research online at Trip Advisor and Google. I was lucky enough to enjoy Luís and Ricardo’s help throughout our stay in Porto and even before that.

Be considerate of the team members’ culture and background. You’d like to suggest activities everyone would be able to participate in. Once you’ve decided on a bunch of these, ask your team to vote. Then you can select the top 2-3 depending on your spending days in the WCEU host city. Make sure your team members have enough time to work, explore the city, and rest.

Share in advance the details for these activities. Furthermore, set up a meeting point where you can gather daily to start your adventures. That way, everyone is aware and can also plan their time around the city.

We selected this time to go for karts and have some fun in paintball.

We only engage in war if there is paint and colors involved. Please don’t ask me who won. I almost ruined my manicure, and my hair turned a bit green. I would do it again for sure, though. Felt like being a kid once more and fooling at the playground. Posting pics of all three teams below before we started looking like a colorful mess.

First thing to remember for next year is that I need to embarrass myself by singing karaoke.

Having fun with WPMU DEV during WCEU 2022

Attending the event with your team makes you feel part of the whole. Reduces the feeling of being alone or lonely, of being a stranger among so many people.

Without a doubt, we needed t-shirts to make us feel like part of the bigger team. Therefore, one of our Designers, Evgeniy, took over this creative project and chose Gallito, the WCEU wapuu. Moreover, we needed to take the word out since we’re hiring and searching for members to join our amazing team. Adding a hiring message on the back of the t-shirt did help us.

We gave more people that wished to work with us the chance to talk with team members. Time to express their interest, ask questions, and get feedback from team members already working with us.

Family photos rock the team’s world

Don’t forget to get some family photos with the team wearing your t-shirts. Certainly, I’ll put this one on my desk, so I can see them daily.

Unquestionably, there is one thing you need to pay attention to. Last but not least “It’s all about the people.”.

For instance, during this WCEU edition, you could consider me a sergeant Eva (or a mother of the team). I kept chasing them around to wear their masks and keep safe. I had to make sure they ate properly. If they had a toothache, I’m the one to verify they took the proper meds. Needless to say, I had to confirm they all had a good time.

In conclusion, WCEU 2022 was amazing for the whole team. One of my most important moments was knowing that my team is right there for me. They were cheering while I was on the stage being one of the Global Leads of WCEU 2023. They celebrated that the next WCEU host city is Athens, Greece.

Do you want to be a part of the WPMU DEV family? Guess what? We’re always on the lookout for amazing superheroes to join our team.

We’re hiring; you can find more details and apply through our career site.

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