Our retreats are vital for our remote culture

Skyscrapers on retreat in the Ardennes, Belgium
Culture, Team

Some weeks ago, our team came together for another bi-annual retreat. In a nice place (Dinant, Belgium), away from daily operations and regular work, we enjoyed a whole week of deep connection, good fun and reflection on us as a company.  These regular retreats are a cornerstone of our 100% remote company, as this last one proved again.

The location makes a difference


Skyscrapers Team retreat in Ardennes

Our remote team works mostly from home, some from coworking spaces. Bringing people to a nice place automatically opens the mind and hearts of most people. Each time we try to find an original and inspiring location. 

This time we met in the beautiful region around Dinant in the Belgian Ardennes. Being close to nature always brings peace and space to help set the stage for our talks and connection.


This is not the first time we’ve done this, we’ve also gone to the region of Girona (Spain), Porto (Portugal), Netherlands, etc.

There is always a nice house that we can find that is large enough and has all the accommodations we need.

How we organise for it

In true-self management style we share the load of organising the retreat. For this retreat we formed an organising committee and gave a budget. That committee is then completely free to organise most of the retreat as they like within those constraints.

Helping them is our Notion workspace where there is a lot of information on past retreats, what worked, what didn’t work, etc. After each retreat we collect feedback, do a retrospective and document the conclusions for the next committee to build further on. Constant retrospection, another important principle in Skyscrapers.


Team retreat in the Ardennes, Belgium

The program is usually a combination of fun activities, good food, space to reflect/connect and time to work on the company. The latter usually has its own dedicated program. However, this year we decided to keep it very freeform. We let the program shape itself.


At the start of the retreat, the Firekeeper (our version of the CEO, focusing mostly on strategy) sets out a couple of leading principles for the retreat. This year they were:

  • Connect and togetherness as team
  • Trust and Build


Team Retreat Ardennes BrainstormingSome weeks before the retreat we collected suggestions for topics and workshops. These were brought back at the start of the retreat. Based on those and after learning about the leading principles, we decided together which ones we wanted to dive into in the coming days. Each day, we could change things depending on where the energy was and the focus was needed.



Resident-coach day

We also had our ‘resident coach’ Ben come in to lead us for one of the days. 

Ben, through regular sessions with everybody on the team, has his finger on the personal and cultural pulse of our team.  He uses these insights in various group exercises which in every case lead very open, vulnerable and often transforming conversations. 

Resident Coaching during Team retreatThis time we spent over half a day doing a ‘deep’ check-in (how do you feel) and doing ‘How do you see me’ rounds. In these rounds we gave each other open and honest feedback: appreciation (tears were involved 💖) and potential suggestions for growth. The second part of the day was spent on distilling our current values (work in progress).



It’s difficult to quantify all the results, but I’ll give it an attempt:

We …

  • laid the foundation for a fundamental change of the aim of the Platform Circle where they’ll be focusing more on a product oriented approach
  • did the first step in describing our current and refreshed values
  • all reviewed the results of the last quarter, looked at the future, discussing plans and initiatives  along the way
  • did a team check to see if there any elephants in the room that needed tackling (there were none)
  • got reminded again or our qualities and what we each bring as people (don’t stop doing this, ever)
  • reviewed the results of a customer survey we did and discussed how we could learn from this
  • had many side-discussions at various moments that lead to new insights and ideas. 



I feel confident to say we all travelled back home with new stories, fresh energy for the future and feeling even more connected to each other than before. In my opinion, the most important result of all.

Want to join the next retreat? Check out our vacancies!