Hit the Road: How Retreats Keep Muxu.Muxu Energized

The first weekend in November, the entire Muxu.Muxu team will pack up their suitcases, wave au revoir to their friends and family, and head off to a mansion just outside Bordeaux for four days. The property belongs to a sports journalist and features several rooms, a garden and a pool.

This will be the company’s seventh retreat and mark the one year anniversary of Floriane’s first retreat. Last fall, when Floriane joined Muxu.Muxu to lead marketing, she was curious about the upcoming retreat, “I didn’t know what a retreat was like, so I was excited to discover it and spend time with my colleagues in a different place.”

The Benefits of a Retreat

The retreat gave her the opportunity to quickly grow closer to her colleagues, “Mostly because of the parties. It’s interesting to work with your colleagues in another environment. It just changes everything. It’s easier to talk.” She found that she was able to connect one-on-one with her teammates in a way she can’t at the office because everyone is in the same room.

Retreats are mainly seen as an “American” concept, but Muxu.Muxu suggests more companies embrace them and move away from conferences, which can be time consuming and unstimulating. Retreats have proven so beneficial to the bonds between co-workers and sparking creativity, that Muxu.Muxu commits to taking a retreat every quarter. The last retreat was in July. The entire company traveled to Portugal together after lunch time chatter led to very real group travel plans.

Retreats force you to be in the moment

The atmosphere is more relaxed and deadlines are put on hold. Floriane says, “The retreat helps us be more creative. It’s easier to think about and imagine projects and put all the ideas together during a workshop. We are more productive.” She went on to say:

“There is a stronger relationship after the retreat. Everyone helps each other and there’s no spirit of competition.”

Negativity is also kept at bay by making the retreats a complaining-free zone.

How Retreats Work

At retreat, Floriane says activities are divided into “work stuff and other stuff.”

Work stuff
The work stuff includes workshops and a keynote on company culture. Some of the topics discussed are:
- The company vision
- How to improve the company
- Making decisions about hiring and projects

Usually a Muxu.Muxu friend or guest is invited to present a talk on a personal experience. Some past talks have covered hobbies like health and dieting or a behind-the-scenes look at working at Apple HQ.

Other Stuff
Retreats are designed to allow a lot of downtime for forging new bonds with your colleagues. Time is spent together:
- Grocery shopping and cooking
- Sightseeing
- Organizing (and attending) parties

But there’s also plenty of unstructured time. No one will judge you if you’re an introvert that needs reboot in your room alone.

After the retreat, there are photos to hang around the office, videos to laugh at together and parting gifts. Floriane’s memento from the Portugal trip was an emoji keychain — She got the cartoon smiling poo.

Top Tips For Planning a Retreat

If you’re interested in adding retreats to your company culture, Floriane shared her top tips for a successful work retreat.

Allow for Independence
“I think the thing that makes our retreat good and positive is that everyone is independent.” Being free to indulge in alone time at the retreat is essential.

Be Vulnerable
“Everyone is very open.” Creating an environment where people have space to be honest and exchange ideas without judgment, amp up the productivity at retreats.

Be a Family
“We’re a small team.” When you’re a smaller team, it’s easier to feel like family. Larger teams should keep this in mind when designing their retreats — How does a big company recreate that small team feeling?

One Year Later…

This November, it is Elodie, the office manager, who will have her first retreat to look forward to. For Ben, the team’s new motion designer, this will be his third retreat, but his first time attending as a full-fledged member of the Muxu.Muxu family. Previously he attended as a friend, but he’s always been made to feel close to the team, “As a Muxu.Muxu designer I will be more involved in projects, but I don’t think a lot will change because Muxu.Muxu is so passionate, really transparent, and friendly.”

Heading into this retreat, Floriane feels like, “I know the people better, I know how to manage and organize the retreat and I know how it works. I’m more excited this time than the first time because I know how cool it is.” Floriane is now a Muxu.Muxu retreat expert, “I write a note with everything everyone should remember — It’s quite important, like I.D. card, sunglasses, stuff like that.” We can’t wait to see what creative ideas are brought to life after the November retreat.

Written by Minda Honey for Muxu.Muxu. ✨