Over the past year, the team behind IDCO Studio has grown in ways we never thought possible. We brought on new hires for every area of the company, and what began as a one-woman show now employs 20 creatives worldwide. Our team is a hybrid of Austin-based and remote team members, with editors, designers, and content creators based all over the U.S. and internationally in Paris, London, and Croatia.
While we couldn’t be more proud of the global team we’ve built and our seamless online workflows, there’s nothing that replaces gathering together in person. This year, we decided to host our first ever IDCO Team Retreat set on the beautiful shoreline of Gull Lake, Minnesota. It was a weekend to remember, and today we’re sharing the highlights, plus five key takeaways for team building both online and off.
All photography by @madelineharperphoto
Our team retreat was the first time many of us met in person after working together for years. That being said, it was really important to create a relaxed environment where conversation could flourish and connections could be made on both a professional and personal level. Jenn, our IDCO Studio Director, graciously opened her stunning Minnesota lake house, and it was the perfect setting for our group of 16.
The retreat itinerary was built with a mix of structured team sessions and unstructured free time, including plenty of happy hours, boat cruises, and sunset dinners on the agenda. We logged some productive goal-setting sessions and collaborated on new company rollouts, but the weekend highlights were all the little moments in between. It was such a gift to sit across from one another and make new face-to-face connections that quickly felt like old friends. Our entire team walked away on cloud nine, and we started forming plans to make retreats a part of our annual rhythm.
More than anything, the retreat really helped emphasize the value of team building. While it doesn’t look like grand getaways on a day-to-day basis, we’ve learned that fostering those connections is so worth the time, energy, and investment. From simple check-ins to organized retreats, we’re sharing five ideas to encourage bonding among your creative team with a few strategies you can implement today.
Whether your team works in the office, at home, or a mix of both, creating a sense of community is so important. As a global company, we’ve found one of the most practical ways to keep those lines of communication open is by using Slack. This team communication platform is a game-changer for our daily workflow and allows us to message, share documents and images, and create custom channels. We have dedicated channels to toss around new ideas, chat about weekend plans, and everything in between. The best part? Slack keeps in contact with each other throughout the day without clogging up our inboxes.
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We know nobody likes a calendar full of meetings. However, prioritizing regularly scheduled company-wide communication is a necessary component of team building. This could be once or twice a week depending on the nature of your business, but just get the habits in place and really stick to them. It helps everyone feel like they’re on the same page and keeps the short and long-term goals within sight.
Fostering great relationships among your team members is one of the most rewarding aspects of running a business. To help this play out practically, we created a dedicated Slack channel called Cheers for Peers. When anyone wants to shout out a team member for amazing work, they have a place to (literally) cheer them on. This practice has become so ingrained in our company culture, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Staying connected to what’s happening in the design industry is part of running a successful business, so why not do it with your team? Make plans to attend the Las Vegas Market, High Point Market, or industry-specific events like Design Camp. It shows team members how much you value them as employees and will help foster connections in the process.
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Maybe we’re biased after coming off a retreat of our own, but there’s something about dedicated time away that really fast-tracks team bonding. Consider renting out a property with plenty of space for everyone, and invite your team members to spend a weekend connecting offline. We recommend crafting an itinerary with both group sessions and fun activities while also saving lots of time for the deep conversations that happen in the moment. There’s no question you’ll walk away as a team feeling even stronger.
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IDCO Studio is a full-service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Our recently launched limited-release website templates are the perfect way for interior designers to get a luxury website on a budget. These templates allow designers to maintain control of their content. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.