Happy Cog Takes the Poconos

The Happy Cog team took to the hills for a few days of rest and relaxation in our first all-company retreat since the pandemic.

At Happy Cog, we are a remote-first, fully distributed team working from a number of states and US time zones. This presents unlimited opportunity to work with talented professionals across the country regardless of where they call home, but it also presents a challenge that Happy Cog must rise to meet: cultivating a company-wide culture that brings everyone together. Numerous strategies are already being employed to foster an engaging environment for the Happy Cog team, such as company-wide Zoom meetings, virtual lunches, and regional in-person meetups. However, there is no true substitute for the energy and solidarity that strikes when the whole company is present.

Let me introduce the 2022 Happy Cog company retreat at Woodloch Resort. Located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, Woodloch Resort is a top destination for leisure and corporate retreats, providing not only a beautiful setting for group getaways but also plenty of recreational opportunities. It proved to be the perfect setting to gather the 68 attendees together, building bonds that will last long after the retreat. The festivities kicked off with welcome statements during dinner that encouraged everyone to take advantage of the next few days to connect with one another and, most importantly, have fun.

When the itinerary opened, there were a multitude of activities for the attendees to choose from. With Lake Teedyuskung on the property, there was no shortage of water-based fun.

Those seeking an adrenaline rush took to the go-kart tracks to race their colleagues. Two groups even challenged their problem-solving skills with Woodloch’s escape rooms, one themed after the Wizard of Oz and the other after music from the decades.

The best part of the retreat for me was getting to see everyone in person.
- A Happy Cogger

Even when rain threatened the outdoor activities, the Woodloch team improvised and set up various lawn games under the covered ice rink for everyone to enjoy.

At night, the campfire ambience inspired a social mood. Sidewinding conversations and pitchers of Negronis flowed throughout the gathering.

It can be difficult to tap into our inner creativity in the structured work environment. Breaking away from daily routine and re-evaluating our processes is vital to preserving momentum in our work life. The freedom to experience new adventures and unwind in peaceful backdrops made a distinct impression on the team:

It felt like at any time I could go off with a random group to do something that sounded fun in that moment.
-A Happy Cogger

But Happy Cog didn’t place the burden of recreational planning solely on the attendees. Events promoting ingenuity and cooperation comprised the backbone of the schedule. The boat building competition combined the beauty of the venue with the purpose of the retreat: to make connections across all vectors of Happy Cog. Randomly assigned teams were tasked with constructing a boat that could carry a captain out of purely cardboard and duct tape, with the first and second fastest teams being awarded gold and silver medals. Some of the boats may not have floated, but everyone appreciated the refreshing weather and healthy rivalry.

The attendees had a choice for another team-building endeavor: Paint & Sip Art Class, Mixology Class, or Baking Wars Competition. Each employee had the opportunity to engage in an existing interest or pick something outside their comfort zone.

I wasn't expecting to have as much fun at Baking Wars as I did, but it was one of my favorite things we did. The team creativity was great!
-A Happy Cogger

Trivia games were so popular that they couldn’t be contained to a single night. Multiple group trivia themes brought out the competitive drive in every employee, with each winner taking home a prized gold medal that is sure to be brought out to settle future disagreements.

Boat building and trivia were amazing! I felt like we were able to work together with folks we normally don't get to work with, so it was nice to see the great teamwork and conversations happening there!
-A Happy Cogger

The final night needed something spectacular to cement the retreat as one to remember, so karaoke was the obvious choice, and it didn’t disappoint. With a little liquid courage and a lot of reasons to celebrate, the raucous performances continued long after the initially planned closing time (thanks to the Woodloch team’s extra efforts).

The retreat exceeded my expectations! I never thought I'd have so much fun on a work outing.

-A Happy Cogger The 2022 Happy Cog Company Retreat gave the team a chance to get to know each other in person, gain a fresh perspective, make new friends, and feel more connected to our peers. In a world of Zoom meetings and Slack messages, feeling disconnected from others is something that we all struggle with. Our time in the Pocono Mountains is a reminder of the delightful humans behind Happy Cog’s continued success. Looking forward to the next time we are all able to meet again!

This blog was crafted by Erinn Holman, a valued SEO Content Specialist here at Happy Cog.