Check out the summer traditions from Austin tech we're dying to be a part of

July 13, 2017

Just because we don't get three summer months off like we did during school doesn't mean we are any less excited for the season. Many companies offer summer schedules and flexible PTO so their employees can take advantage of extended weekends and vacations.

In Austin tech, you’ll find some companies even host in-house summer traditions to lighten up the workplace. Check out what three local companies do to foster cross-department relationships and have a little fun in and out of the hot Texas sun.

 

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Since 2013, the Spiceworks team has organized an annual company-wide field day over summer. They’ve hosted five so far and even fly the remote employees in to participate. Kate Dunn, Spiceworks recruiter, talked us through what the annual Field Day consists of.

Field Day sounds so fun. What’s it like?

It’s a Spiceworks summer tradition — a fun-in-the-sun kind of day spent playing games, eating delicious food and sharing quality time with each other. We split into 10 teams and play tug-of-war, soccer, trivia, basketball, Jenga and many more! One year, a team placed 1st after winning an epic dance-off when a tiebreaker was needed.

How do you develop the teams?

Everyone stays with their same teams throughout their years at Spiceworks. New employees are split at random and placed on a team. The goal is to be on teams with people you might not normally work or interact with. It builds comradery year after year being on your same team.

How does this impact morale?

This was initially started as a way for all of our employees to come together (including remote employees). Taking a day off in the middle of the year to kick-back is great for promoting a healthy culture and creating a positive team dynamic amongst co-workers

 

 

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Ashlee McGuire, HR Manager from AgileAssets, filled us in on the team’s annual summer Ranch Day out in Dripping Springs. The company also implemented a Bring Your Dog to Work Day during the summer, which due to popular demand has extended beyond just the summer.  

What type of summer traditions does your team participate in?

In addition to departmental outings and monthly happy hours, we host a few special events in the summer to include Ranch Day and Bring Your Dog to Work Day.

Why these?

Our CEO Stuart Hudson owns the beautiful Longhorn River Ranch in Dripping Springs and we have found that this is the perfect venue for our employees to disconnect from technology and soak in some beautiful views. We will organize a fun team challenge in the morning, like popsicle stick bridge building (a favorite of our engineers) or a marble maze. We cater in lunch for everyone and in the afternoon, we have free time, where employees can go on safari tours of the property, play games or just relax with coworkers and breathe in the country air!

We also love Bring your Dog to Work Day and have started incorporating more of these days into our year. We have seen how the benefits of having your pooch at work can lower stress, increase productivity and brighten everyone’s day!

How does this promote a healthy culture?

While the benefits of spending a day out in the country surrounded by gorgeous views does wonders all by itself, that is not the only reason we love Ranch Day! The admin team spends a lot of time putting the teams together for the challenges with the goal of promoting cross-departmental relationships. People that may have never otherwise spoken get the chance to work together on a challenge and build the foundation of a relationship, which spills over into the office.

Dogs are such a significant part of our employee’s lives, and we believe that their presence in the office can improve the quality of our employee’s work life. Dogs have the magical ability to make people happy, which is great for morale! Not to mention, pets are a great ice-breaker, and we have seen how dogs may help employees come out of their shell or even help employees build a new bond with a coworker.

 


 

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Ryan Farley co-founded LawnStarter in 2013. Farley, the startup’s CEO, said a summer tradition came to light following an on-going trend of playing tropical music on Thursdays. Farley explained how a simple wardrobe trend positively impacted the office vibe leading into the weekend.

What type of summer traditions does your team participate in?

A summer tradition started by a member of our sales team is Tropical Thursdays. Everybody wears tropical attire to work, plays tropical music playlists all day, and at the end of the work day we do a mini luau party. We host friendly competitions like limbo contests and the winners get Hawaiian leis. They're a lot of fun.

How did this happen?

Tropical Thursdays were born simply out of listening to tropical music playlists on Thursdays. Then as more and more people in the company got involved and were wearing their tropical attire to work it grew into a little bit more.

How does Tropical Thursday promote a healthy culture?

Our employees are more relaxed coming into work on Friday. It also gives them a chance to hang out and get to know one another without giving up precious weekend time hanging out with co-workers. Because no matter how much you love the person sitting next to you all day, employees still need a work life balance. So, Thursdays after work is the perfect time to let loose a little bit and set the mood for a good Friday workday.

 

 

Images provided by participating companies and Shutterstock.

What are your team traditions? Let us know with a tip or on Twitter @BuiltInAustin

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