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FD Annual Trip 2021 – Porto

We’ve just got back from our Fiasco annual trip. This year we headed to sunny Porto, Portugal for an extended weekend. We always have an incredible time, and this time round was no different.

At Fiasco we believe that a good work/life balance is fundamental to the creative process and doing our best work. Being in the same routine day in, day out can stump creativity. Time spent outside of the studio pursuing other interests helps us to unwind, take stock, and recharge.

We get to know each other beyond work

For the past six years we’ve taken the whole team away on our Fiasco annual trip. Bringing the team together in a different setting creates an opportunity to explore a new place, and opens the door to learn more about one another along the way. Taking the time to get to know each other beyond the studio walls is a powerful testament to the sincerity of our relationships with each other.

Consciously or subconsciously, most of us have a tendency to curb the unique quirks of our personalities in the workplace. The stuff that our family and friends witness in unguarded moments are the things that endear them to us, and it’s what helps form deeper relationships. Going away helps lure this out of hiding (with the help of a little Vinho Verde).

Exploring a new place together

In previous years we’ve visited Barcelona, Cornwall and the Cotswolds. It’s a chance to down tools and explore somewhere new together. And there’s no better way to do this than a bike tour of the city. Our guide Antonio led us through winding cobbled streets of Porto, along the seafront promenade, and into the tranquil city park, where we enjoyed a well-deserved lunch. 

Being away from home allows us the opportunity to soak up other cultures; from admiring the unusual town planning and tiled facades, to discovering local delicacies like Port and Tonics and Francesinha. One of the trip highlights was a Pastel de Nata workshop run by Portuguese native Joanna, who taught us an authentic recipe that has been passed down through her family for generations. 

Slowing down to go faster 

Amongst the hustle and bustle of studio life, it’s important to take time to reflect. The annual trip away provides the chance to pause and look back constructively over the past year. The nature of our work can mean it’s fast-paced, so going to a new, fun environment provides the opportunity to decompress. To create headspace. For this reason, we find one of the best times to take stock is shortly after a particularly busy period. 

During our Annual Grand Meeting (AGM) we share the highs and lows of the year, and outline the main aims of the year ahead. Being transparent about business with the whole team is something we’re passionate about. It’s also the perfect time to check that we’re all onboard with the direction we’re going in.

Company culture

Our lives have changed immeasurably in the past couple of years, and with that comes the need to keep our company culture on point. Even the big tech companies behind the flamboyant office trend are shifting towards hybrid work and opting to invest in experiences instead. The trip expense is an investment into one of the most important things to us – connection with one another.

We’ve always championed a healthy work/life balance, and more recently we extended our efforts to include trialling the four-day working week over summer. Earlier this year, we introduced a hybrid studio, allowing our team to be autonomous on when, where, and how they work. Being productive to us doesn’t mean working around the clock. It means working smarter, not harder.

Because, well, it’s fun

With no formal agenda, our annual trip is a chance to hang out as a group, laugh, and let our metaphorical hair down. 

It can be easy to overlook, but often the best way to bond is to share a meal together. From a five-course tasting meal in downtown Porto, to a relaxed lunch on a sunny terrace, and an authentic Pastel de Nata workshop; our meals together were enjoyed as much for the togetherness, as much as the food itself. 

From the activities and the food to the camaraderie, nothing has been more effective at bringing us together, and aligning us all on where we are heading. Our team all returned to the studio on Monday with more creative energy, tired but re-energised; and more engaged in upcoming projects because of a strengthened bond with each other.

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