The first week of March was a special one for the HOTOVO team.
For the first time in nearly three years, our entire team got together – face to face! – and enjoyed an incredible week of working hard, playing hard, and most importantly, building and strengthening the personal relationships that, to put it simply, make our lives (and world) better.
For many of us, whether because of the pandemic or because of geographical locations, it was the first time we’ve seen each other in person in a number of years. For many more, it was the first time ever!
Our teams from Argentina, the UK, Serbia and of course Slovakia were all together for the very first time…
Starting with a dynamic and vibrant few days working together in the Kosice office, the week then culminated with an exhilarating weekend in the snow in Jasna for HOTOVO’s “annual” Ski Academy.
There were many doubts about whether we could, or should, go ahead with the week.
Firstly from the perspective of the pandemic, and then of course because of the war in Ukraine. Concerns about the travel itself, but also concerns about having fun during such times.
However – relationships, unity, togetherness and the way in which we behave and interact as a company is what we are about. It forms the very basis of our company values.
And we realized that while we can’t do anything to control the crises that are happening around the world right now, we can control things much closer to home. And getting together face-to-face to nourish our company culture and personal relationships, after two years of pandemic and home-office setups, was an important and much-needed action for our team.
It’s bought us even closer together, and unity on any level is undoubtedly a good thing in the world right now…
Personally, I am so glad we had the week we did.
Our company motto is that it’s all about the people, and this week has made me more excited than ever about the amazing people that make up HOTOVO, and what our company is – and will be – capable of thanks to them all.
So, do you want to know the details of what made this incredible week so incredible?… 🙂
A week of recovering our face-to-face human interaction skills!
In the week leading up to our epic ski weekend, we saw our UK and Argentinian teams join us in Kosice.
To be honest, it was a challenging week for many. We wanted to take full advantage of our time together, so it was a busy one. And I guess a lot of us are out of practice of so much human interaction! But it was worth every minute.
We worked on a variety of tasks including project-level and managerial training, strategic discussions, and just about anything else we could think of that’s more effective face to face.
And wow, what a week. The buzz in the office was awesome, everyone was so energized, and the ideas flying around were inspiring.
It reminded me of the days before the pandemic, and has inspired me to encourage people to start coming back into the office again. We’ll keep it flexible, but the office buzz and the great things that come from it is something I’d hate us all to lose.
And of course, these kinds of work events are about so much more than just work. An hour with a beer or a schnapps at the end of the day can reveal more than months of long-distance conversations!
I was simply overwhelmed by the sparkling debates, and I’m so happy that we had the opportunity to meet in this way and learn so much more about each other and our diverse cultures.
It’s a great reminder that we built this company to make it a fun place to work, with colleagues that we genuinely enjoy working with.
The Ski Academy weekend… we finally made it!
Thanks to the pandemic, it took us three years to finally get our Ski Academy weekend to happen!
But we finally made it, and I’m pretty sure everyone that was there is as happy as I am that it finally came together.
As I said before, deciding whether or not to go ahead was a hard decision, but I’m convinced we did the right thing…
…because all the activities we enjoyed brought us together, strengthened us and prepared us better for the future, no matter whether that’s looking at the future from the perspective of work, or otherwise.
Associating the 3D personalities in front of us with the faces and names we know so well from Slack and Zoom, well – it’s simply priceless!
It was a weekend of ski touring, freeriding, slope stunts, backcountry skiing, hot springs, saunas, DJs, bars, and above all… many great conversations! Face to face, real 3D people, energy and enjoyment and togetherness. It sounds almost unreal after the last two years, but it was real, and we sure did enjoy it!
But one of the best things from this weekend was all of us coming out of it as friends, not only as colleagues. That’s something I’m truly grateful for.
So, what’s next?
We’re going to keep growing.
We’re building something special, together.
We’re continuing to extend our team with new members from all around the world, and we’re focused on doing so while maintaining all the great things we’ve built into HOTOVO since the very beginning… and especially on keeping the fun, friendly, collaborative culture we’ve created.
The cornerstone of our success is our core values – reliability, trustworthiness, honesty and, of course… our skills.
These are the basic values that form the way we work and behave on a daily basis.
And as we continue to grow globally, one of our key goals is retaining and sharing our unique culture, and the way we behave and interact.
Our time together in Kosice and at the Ski Academy was a wonderful and important trip for us all. We faced some moral contradictions given what’s happening in our neighboring country and around the world, but it was the right decision to go ahead.
In these times of crisis, the power of unity has more meaning than ever before, and by strengthening and uniting our own team, we are taking an important step forward.
We are stronger together; we are stronger as a team.
Last but not least… Ukraine
I can’t finish without addressing this more directly.
The situation in Ukraine is terrible, and needs as much support as possible.
We have an internal Ukraine Support Slack channel within the company, which we are using to share and start initiatives that will provide different forms of help.
This is another reason we know that it is right to keep focusing on our company, and strengthening it in the best ways we know how. If we are strong, there are more ways we can help.
If you’re also looking for ways to support Ukraine, I can recommend you check out these links:
- Slovakia specific initiative – https://ktopomozeukrajine.sk
- Kosice specific initiative – https://srdcevmeste.sk
- list of global aid options – https://how-to-help-ukraine-now.super.site