Working away: consider it for your startup
Greetings from Spain, I’m writing this from Trigger.io’s temporary HQ – an apartment we booked on AirBnB in the center of Barcelona.
We are on our semi-regular away trip where we’ve been working for the past week.
Several times a year, we travel away from our bases of San Francisco and London to live and work together for 10 days. We always book a place on AirBnB, sometimes in a city, sometimes a countryside retreat. We work hard during the day and into the evening, the beer then usually starts flowing from 8pm.
As a team that’s split, day to day, between two continents these trips help us spend some time under one roof. But we’d do them even if we were all in one place – I’d recommend them for any startup.
Why they’re great
We love Barcelona but in a sense, the location hardly matters. As well as being a lot of fun, our trips away are pretty intense – we work long hours, morning through night, with few of the distractions of our home locations. We’ve found these to be easily our most productive, focused times as a company.
We all love what we do, but mix hard work with evenings of beer and gaming – and take 1 day off out of the 10 for a group trip. In this case, we went hiking in the hills around Montserrat, a couple of hours outside Barcelona.
What have we been working on? The point isn’t to sit around brainstorming (though that’s a natural byproduct of being around each other, focussed on the job even on the off-hours), it’s about execution. We’ve been working on breaking the back of an awesome new feature which we’ll announce in the next few weeks.
How we got started
Away trips became a tradition for us by accident – at the start, James and I were working in different locations for a time while he waited for his visa to be approved. When we needed to work together in-person we thought it would be more interesting to both go to a new location rather than one simply travelling to see the other. And finding a suitable place was made simple for us by AirBnB.
From the first trip we saw the benefits of the focused time working together on feature sprints. The magic ingredient was always the location: a change of scenery and away from everyday distractions.
In the past we’ve been to Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen in Mexico, Montreal, Berlin, Vienna and Barcelona once before. We found the trips so productive that even with visas sorted and a fast-growing team, we continued the away trips. Of course, it suits our (accidentally) remote team: but we’d do this even if we worked under one roof year-round.
You should try it too
If you’re a startup with 2-10 devs – more could be difficult logistically – you should consider trips like this. Just pick a date, throw a dart at a location, find a suitable battle-operations centre on AirBnB — and go.
This is just one of the great benefits of working at or with Trigger.io … next time we may bring some of our customers along for the ride
And with that segue… if this has inspired you to try building a mobile app using your web skills, then sign up for Trigger.io.