When I joined Tapptitude in 2019, it was right after that year’s team building event. There was still a lot of buzz going around about what a memorable event it was, the great fun everyone had, and chats always included ‘do you remember what happened at that game?’ or ‘you’ve got to join us next year!’
Of course, with those pesky global events we do not like remembering, it took me a while to actually make it to a team building. But third time’s the charm, and after experiencing a TappSquad team building in real life, I can honestly report on the secret recipe that makes this event a much anticipated, much-mentioned event for everyone, with a load of fun to add.
1. The chill time
This year we started out with a road trip to Vulcan, near Brasov, to a really neat location. And for one weekend, we let ourselves have a lot of chill time, hanging out outside in the green with a drink, catching up on our lives, and enjoying the available games.
I really liked that we had this summer’s interns join us. With new people, we had a completely different dynamic, yet we still got to connect really well. It really didn’t matter that we were a large group, everyone was included and had a good time, and that was great.
And if you weren’t all that interested in outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking in the nearby forest, you could always grab a swimsuit and take a dip in the swimming pool.
What was the team building’s highlight from my perspective? The chilled out, unplanned stuff. Seeing my colleagues playing volleyball, ping pong, staying in the jacuzzi and on beach chairs (actually grass chairs) and enjoying every bit of it was perhaps the most satisfying moment. We didn’t have to be there, but we chose to. That’s the magic of wanting to be part of something. Something like an intense volleyball game, a circle made out of grass chairs, or perhaps, a team.
2. The photos
Things got a bit more serious on Saturday, when we had scheduled activities and games. But perhaps our skills shone most during a photoshoot challenge: 10 prompts for roughly 7 teams to take thematic photos around the hotel. Did you know we had hidden talents and rock stars and hip hop singers on our team? I know, me neither!
But if you thought that our photography skills stopped there, you’d be wrong. We had two team members who decided to bring along their film cameras to document the team building. And what next-level photos came out of that!
I wanted to bring my film camera to the team building to try a new process I hadn’t done before, called film pushing. I thought it was a great opportunity because a lot of colleagues loved the 45-year old camera and loved even more to shoot a picture with it! The photos came out great, and in each frame I see a genuine expression on everyone’s face because people treat photographs differently on film, as they know the frames are limited. This is what I love about film photography: people have a unique reaction when being photographed and it forces me to be there in the moment when capturing it.
On the other hand, Sergiu, our designer, brought along his camera because visual arts are his passion, and the way film photos are made, with a certain texture, means they will always surprise you in some way.
Given that I already work in the field and I’m passionate about design, making the transition into photography seemed like a natural step. It’s a visual art and I’m interested and fascinated by all things visual.
Even though I tried both mediums, analog and digital photography, and I can see the benefits of each, when it comes to my personal projects I mainly like to shoot film. I think it gets me into a nice mindset in which I have to balance spontaneous with calculated shots, as I only have a limited amount of slides per film roll. It also grounds me and helps me be more present, as I have to pay more attention to what’s going on around me at any given time.
And last but not least, I absolutely love the grain, the visual noise and added layer of texture that you get with every film shot. I think it’s a medium which thrives on experimentation and can be fully enjoyed only if one allows room for accidents to happen. These accidents can act as triggers for creative ideas.
For a 90s kid like myself, seeing film photos of this getaway really gives me vacation vibes. There’s something very nostalgic about this medium that makes these moments really pop out.
3. The (board) games
Look, you can’t put more than 60 people in a hotel, have them be mostly offline, and expect them not to bring along board games or make the most of available games on site. Games are a great way to get to know people a little bit better: it gives you something to do, so it’s a lot harder to feel awkward; the ongoing commentary of what’s going on can keep the spirits up, and seeing how people react to helping each other in the game, winning, or losing, shows a side of them has less to do with work, and more with who they are on a day-to-day basis.
It was interesting playing with people I hadn’t really met until then, as it helped me get to know them. And with the people I did know, I discovered a more personal side of them, in which they enjoyed the game and were enjoying learning a new game. For me, board games are definitely a way to bond with people!
More than learning about each other, games are a great (and low-risk!) way to learn about ourselves.
It was interesting being the captain in the dominos game, especially as I’m not usually a team lead. The members would tell me how to set the pieces, and they’d check on each other if they’d make mistakes, sometimes not in the most forgiving manner. I think it says a lot about a team if we’re willing to have patience with each other and forgive the small mistakes while someone learns something new. It was a really new experience for me, and I think it’s important to carry that patience with people over to more serious things in life, as well.
4. The parties
Of course, you can’t have a proper team building without the evening parties. And the secret to a good party is to start planning the week before, which is when our resident DJ Cristi put together his playlist. This year, he got help from the other music aficionado in the team, Daniel (you’ll recognise him by the vinyl collection that always shows up in his background during Zoom calls).
Even if it’s dance, hip-hop, funk or retro, the TappSquad knows how to party. Being a DJ at a team building event adds one more thing to the ‘why I love being in Tapptitude’ list.
But music, dancing, and drinks weren’t the only highlights of the evening. One of our interns brought along their guitar, and that and a campfire made for a great setup of stories and singing.
It felt super good to be back at a team building event this year and meet up with old and new colleagues. You could tell from the moment we entered the venue that everyone was super excited and ready to have some fun. We’re lucky to have some really talented colleagues on the team, so we had both a party with DJs where we danced to some energetic beats, but also a campfire where people played some guitar chords and sang some nice hits. The nights had a great atmosphere!
5. The people
Last but not least, you can’t have a fun team building without the great people that were a part of it. People who came wanted to have fun, connect, and be mindful of each other. You know you’ve done something right when the interns joining you for the event after less than a month in the company say they’d love to keep working here after meeting the whole team.
But new and ‘veteran’ colleagues also got to take advantage of seeing people face-to-face and connecting with them on a more personal level. To quote the welcome note we prepared for the team members: ‘if you sit down with any of our colleagues to chat with them, you’ll figure out pretty quickly that each of them is different and very special. And that is an amazing value to have in the team.’
The whole team building experience for me was a fantastic opportunity to get to know my colleagues and learn new things about them. Seeing all of us together, laughing and interacting, made me realize what an amazing team we are. I consider that experiences like this are necessary in order to share thoughts and try to become a better team together.
This year’s team building was very relaxing for me, because of the area we went to and the hotel’s atmosphere. I really enjoyed playing ping pong with my colleagues and the mood around the evenings’ campfire when we’d sing and play guitar. I’d love it if we could do that again, because we have a lot of colleagues who are great singers. I had a great time, had great chats with my new colleagues, and I can’t wait for the next one!
If this sounds like the kind of team you’d like to chill and have fun with, we’re always looking for new colleagues to join our #TappSquad. Check out our careers page for open positions and how to apply to them.