dxw retreat 2019

It’s always fun to get everyone together outside of our normal work environment

Every year we take the opportunity to get away from our offices and spend a couple of days getting to know each other better. So last week, we invited all of the dxw gang to spend some time at Sopwell House in St. Albans.

Many new faces

Although it’s a short train ride from St Pancras, we found ourselves looking out onto some beautiful countryside and gardens.

The format of the 2 days was slightly different from our last retreat for a couple of reasons. We’ve almost doubled in size since last year so it was the biggest retreat we’ve organised. The feedback from last year said that we’d tried to pack in a lot last time, and had left people feeling exhausted rather than refreshed (which was not our intention!). For this retreat, we took a deliberately slower pace and decided to focus on team building.

People arrived over the afternoon and after work on Thursday. We held a dinner to help everyone get to know each other better and then a pub quiz. Nothing gets people more engaged than testing their knowledge and a bit of healthy competition. Especially a quiz with a killer round where you lose all your points if you get anything wrong, even the link between the answers. (Thanks Leanne for being an excellent quizmaster).

We also took the opportunity to get a dxw team photo and you can see below just how much we’ve grown from this time last year.

dxw staff at the 2018 retreat
dxw staff at the 2018 retreat
dxw staff at this year's retreat
dxw staff at this year’s retreat

Updates on our work from our people

The next morning we held our second ever all-staff meeting. We had 2 hours to hear updates from people across the organisation, from different parts of the country. Our cyber hacking colleagues also brought along their lockpicking kit for us all to try (you can have a go yourself at their regular lockpicking meetups).

Hilary and Harry lockpicking
Hilary and Harry lockpicking

We heard from our Managing Director, Dave, about our business plan and progress against it. Then had lightning talks from people working on some of our client projects: the Department for Education, UK Research and Innovation, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and Southwark council.

We also had an update on our office space as we’ll be moving offices in London next year, and an introduction to our new performance recognition framework. And we talked about our dxw company days and how they’ll be changing in the future. We’ll be blogging about some of these things in the coming months.

Some of the staff playing rounders
Some of the team playing rounders

The afternoon focused on activities: yoga, rounders (despite the rain), an escape room which proved very popular, and an art class. We put quite a bit of effort into making sure there was something that everyone would feel comfortable doing, including providing the time and space for people to do their own thing. That meant we also had a room that was used for board games, (more) lockpicking and some retro gaming on Harry’s Dreamcast.

It’s always fun to get everyone together outside of our normal work environment. Especially when staff can take some time out and get to know each other better.

Huge thanks to everyone who organised the retreat. We’re already looking forward to next year’s.