Chillout and… Murder Mystery!
SolDevelo Team Outing
At SolDevelo, we strongly believe in the importance of work-life balance. Obviously, creating high quality code in our applications requires precision, many hours of concentration and self-discipline. Close deadlines, critical bugs or dealing with clients’ interests – this is our everyday’s reality that we try to be best at. So when we work, we work hard! But let’s make it clear: we are perfectly aware that there are times when you have to get out of work mode and just switch off.
Team building makes a difference
Team outings are what we love very much about our job! Or maybe we should rather say: what we used to love – in those joyful pre-pandemic times… The so-called ‘new normal’ introduced not only compulsory remote work and sanitary measures into the office life but it also seriously limited the number of company events and team-building activities that we liked so much. Of course, up to a point, they did move to all those useful video conferencing tools. But let’s be honest: nothing will replace face-to-face meetings, right? We love technology but we realise that it has its shortcomings. No virtual meetings will cement existing social bonds and strengthen relationships the way team outings do!
That’s why we were all very happy and anxious before our first company meeting since the pandemic outbreak. The meeting took place on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at the premises of Novotel Gdańsk Marina. The hotel is located 50 m from the Jelitkowo Beach on the Baltic Sea Coast and surrounded by a vast green area with a tennis court, a bonfire area and a snack and drink bar. Sounds like a great spot for team building activities and nice chillout? Well, we couldn’t have chosen better!
Let’s get a party started!
Our company meeting gathered over 70 people – all of them were SolDevelo’s employees together with their families. It was really great to see all of them in person! We also had a unique opportunity to meet our colleagues from outside Tricity who work remotely on a daily basis. The goal of the meeting was clear: talk, eat, drink and relax!
The meeting started at noon with the official part (naturally!), during which our CEO and CTO greeted the whole team and invited all of us to socialise and have fun together. In fact, they didn’t have to say it twice! The hotel surroundings and a range of available outdoor attractions looked very tempting. We (adults) could get involved into various activities (e.g.volleyball, twister , shooting range, stacking Giant Jenga blocks) while kids could turn into their favourite cartoon heroes at a face-painting stall. There was also a chillout zone with deckchairs and an open bar. You could just sit, talk to you colleagues and eat or drink as much as you wanted – a perfect combination for perfect relaxation!
The latter could be even better with the gifts that were handed out among all the employees at the beginning of the meeting. Everyone received a nice picnic set, including a picnic blanket, a Bluetooth speaker, an insulated picnic bag and sweets. Additionally, kids received age-appropriate toys.
Murder on the dancefloor
But the best was yet to come! At 12.30 the main part of the event started. It turned out to be the team-building game called…“Murder at the hotel”. The activity was to improve our team’s collaboration and communication skills. Because as we all know, no one is able to build the success of the whole group alone. For the cooperation to be proceeding smoothly, we should know how to form clear and understandable messages – as well as to listen carefully to what the other person wants to convey.
In order to understand and practice all that was mentioned above, we had to turn into detectives. We were divided into 6 groups and then we watched a video about the mysterious murder. It told the story of a fictional character, a singer called ‘Needle’, who was killed in mysterious circumstances. Every group received the case files on the “murder” and all the necessary tools to solve the puzzle. That’s when the real fun started!
The goal was to use clues, case files, and logic before the time run out. We had to interview witnesses, take notes, get fingerprints and visit all the places in the hotel that were to some extent related to the case. What is more, we had to search for ‘the’ weapon with a lie detector and not forget to secure all the necessary evidence in the case. Afterwards, every group presented the whole version of the events to the police ( namely, the jury), explaining how they thought ‘Needle’ was killed, who was guilty of the murder and why we blamed that person and not the other. ‘The police’ chose one winning group, which managed to analyze the whole case most accurately and correctly selected the culprit.
Creativity – a key skill for success
Well, that was a challenge! Although there could only be one winner, we all learned a useful lesson from the game. We realized that reaching the goal often required unconventional solutions. And – what’s the most important – that there was no effective work without open communication.
To be honest, a great deal of humor could be helpful, too! It proved especially important in case of one of our groups that, so to speak, did not engage into our mystery solving very much. The boys had no idea who the killer was so they made up the whole course of events and the puzzle solution. But they did it in such a funny and fascinating way that the jury had no choice but to recognise their efforts. They were awarded for their creativity and improvisation skills!
What makes a good party
Playing the roles of murder solving investigators was fun but also a bit exhausting – that’s why we deserved a delicious lunch to regain our energy! At 2.20 p.m. the buffet was open and we could spoil ourselves with delicious specialities: grill dishes, salads, waffles or ice cream.
Although the weather got worse at that point – what disrupted our plans of further outdoor activities – no one complained and the party was still going perfectly. Eating, chilling and mingling with other colleagues was what occupied most of our time. And no one complained! It only proves that the success of every party lies in its… guests. If you like the people you work with, you will spend good time with them – regardless of circumstances.
And yes, we are now anxiously waiting for our next team outings – ASAP!