Our company, Percona is even more Virtual than MySQL AB – we have no offices and 100% of staff members work out of their homes (or traveling, onsite with customers etc). We also probably have just couple of cities where more than one Employee lives.
Working as a virtual company has a lot of benefits both for company and employee – office expenses savings, saving time spent commuting, flexible work time, access to more talents but it also has challenges as we typically able to communicate more efficiently with people we personally met and there are also many things which are better made or discussed in the groups. While working for MySQL I learned the great solution to this problem is periodic meetings – company wide or group wide organized both for sake of working together as well as team building as having fun together.
So we’re having first company wide meeting at Egypt next week leaving this on Friday and returning back in a week.
Similary to early MySQL practice we have invited wifes and families to come and so there would be about 20 people attending.
We’re planning intensive working schedule consisting of project reports, topic discussions, training, brainstorming, performance reviews as well as intensive schedule of excursions, tanning, diving and eating out.
We tried to ensure we have good Internet connection at the Hotel but it is hard to be 100% sure, especially in place like Egypt so not everyone from Consulting Team goes – Alexey Kovyrin stays to take care of Urgent customer issues. Though he had nice vacation at Caribbeans a week ago. Some other people are staying as well because either they did not work out their Passport issues in time or simply joined us too late in trip organization process.
Why Egypt ? There are few reasons. First we wanted to go some warm place, which is always appreciated during Winter by people living in cold locations. This makes Egypt obvious choice at this time of year especially if you’re flying out of Europe and on the Budget. Americans has got Mexico, Caribbean and Hawaii but there is not much inexpensive winter locations available for Europe.
Second reason for location choice is price. Egypt is not overly expensive destination and we do not have a huge budget to waste, especially as we’re self financing and growing company at the same time.
Third reason is Visas – being small company very light on admin personal we did not want to go to the place which requires complex visa application process, which pretty much removed most of Europe from the list which requires Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians to get a visa.
In general trip organization for such distributed company was a tricky process and we spent more time (and money) on it when expected and now keep fingers crossed hoping Flight, Accommodation, Internet, Weather will all work out well.
I’ll write more on this as we get back to see how well we were able to match our ambitious plans.