Creating a fun, inclusive and people-first workplace culture are huge priorities for us at Birdi. And while remote working enables us to hire incredibly talented people from all around Australia, it means getting together in-person at Birdi offsites are HUGELY important for us to connect and have fun together as a team!
Fourteen of us (with one joining in virtually) spent 2 days together at our 2022 Birdi Team Retreat at Manly Q Station - which, if you haven’t been before, is a stunning part of the world! Situated in national park with native wildlife such as whip birds, cockatoos, brush turkeys, and at least 2 echidnas, Q Station overlooks the ocean at Manly’s north head. It used to be a quarantine station until 1984, and since has been transformed into an events and function space complete with on-site event rooms, accommodation, and a restaurant and bar (and side note, they also offer ghost tours. Some parts of Q Station definitely had that spooky vibe. The bathrooms, for example…).
We started the retreat by kicking off Retreat Quest: a team game played across the 2-days, with a series of 24 cards to be completed and points awarded for each completed quest, that would go towards each player’s team score.
We then moved into an innovative thinking activity to get our creativity flowing for the days ahead. Groups each came up with everyday pain point scenarios, which were then put into a (Birdi branded) hat for other groups to then draw out and solve with a product or service in 20 minutes. We actually had some cracker innovations! (Any potential investors reading this, feel free to reach out!).
The meat of the day was then spent planning and problem solving for our product roadmap. While we typically do this virtually through Miro, there was something fantastic about being in the same room using large pieces of paper, post-it notes and Sharpie pens to brainstorm together.
To kick-off our end-of-day fun, our development team ran a session where they had built 2 Birdi-related games for us to play! We guessed geographical locations based on different processed orthophotos, and even got to play a Birdi-fied game of minecraft, where the landscape to navigate was in fact a Birdi-processed orthophoto!
We then moved to the Outdoor Olympics: 4 teams competed in 4 different events to test their abilities in concentration, accuracy, problem-solving and stamina. There was Bucket Ball (how many balls can your team throw into 2 buckets in 60 seconds?); Giant Jenga; Egg Catch (where you had to throw/catch a real egg to your teammate - as dangerous as it sounds); and a good old fashioned Egg and Spoon Relay.
There were highs and lows, some controversial Jenga rulings, and some pre-emptive relay celebrations that ultimately led to demise. But ultimately it was hilariously fun, with Team Purple taking the podium in the end.
After a fantastic first day, we rounded it out by sharing a lovely dinner with the Birdi team and our board advisors at the on-site bar and restaurant.
Day 2 we started with a movement and mobility session - there are no pictures of this session as our head photographer (and author of this post) was leading said movement session - before we moved into some more personal and company-specific reflections. This session gave everyone an opportunity to not only highlight the achievements they were most proud of that year and where they would like to continue their development in 2023, but also to give positive feedback to each other.
Our final session for the day was a deep dive into the equipment used on-site when undertaking drone missions, led by our Head Drone Pilot Ray.
We rounded out the retreat with a well-deserved lunch down at Manly Wharf Bar, before everyone headed back to their hometowns and states, ready to see each other online again the following morning.
The retreat was a fantastic opportunity for us to spend time together as a team, and we can’t wait for the next one! If you’re reading this and thinking this is the type of awesome culture you’d like in a workplace, we encourage you to take a look at our Careers page and get in touch!