Work Away Week: Bringing together teams, cultures, and perspectives

work away week

At Hoffman Europe’s Annual Work Away Week (WAW) 2023, all 25 team members across France, Germany and the UK travelled to Prague for a week — providing the opportunity to connect on a deeper level, share experiences and collaborate on innovative ideas.

As part of the WAW planning taskforce, we wanted to bring to life our core values and integrate them throughout the week. This includes diversity and inclusion, health and wellbeing, and sustainability.

Hear from the European team on their thoughts on WAW, expanding on these principles.

How did we integrate sustainability?

Anish Mandal, Account Executive, UK: “With work away week having just gone by, one of the core themes was the agency’s carbon byproduct. Naturally, this resonated with me as well. Being a member of the sustainability taskforce, my carbon footprint is something I’m quite conscious of, and I’m a staunch believer in using public transportation or manual travelling in my daily life.

“In Prague, this was no different. So, spurred on by a little competitive incentivisation through the “Czech Your Steps” challenge, I endeavoured to use public transport and walk as much as possible around the city. Unfortunately, I didn’t amass the most steps but there was a strong sense of reward and accomplishment when I hit 85K steps!”

Thorsten Papkalla, Senior Consultant, Germany: “I loved the idea of not just defaulting to Uber to get around in Prague. It is such a walkable city. Speaking with colleagues, clients and journalists, it is very noticeable that there is an increasing awareness when it comes to sustainability aspects and the individual CO2 footprint.

“For WAW, I was quite surprised to find that there are no longer any direct flight connections between Berlin and Prague, no matter which airline. A new reality is catching up with us, causing us to question old habits and re-think old routines.”

How did we focus on health and wellbeing?

Ludovica Ceschi, Account Manager, Germany:“On the one hand, the great weather we had and the beautiful location motivated us to spend a lot of time outside, soaking up the warm late summer sun, exploring the city and going for early morning walks.

“On the other hand, the active time was balanced by having room to recharge. While in Prague, I very much appreciated this attention to rest and recharge time.”

Kaif Siddiqui, Account Executive, UK: “The week served us with a chance to implement many different working habits, whether that’s working outdoors or taking walking meetings when possible. While the weather most likely won’t be the same as it was during our trip, some cozy autumnal walks could suit to continue the habit.

“Importantly though, we had the opportunity to forge deeper bonds with our colleagues from different offices, and hopefully, we can build on those human connections beyond our thirst for healthy competition against one another, which we saw come to the fore during the Czech Your Steps Challenge.”

How did we deliver on diversity and inclusion?

There is value in bringing different perspectives and backgrounds together, particularly in brainstorms.

Andree Latibeaudiere, Senior Account Director, UK: “Brainstorming tends to work well face-to-face and the brilliant thing about WAW was that we were able to connect with our colleagues across three different geographies to learn more about the approaches and tactics they used in local markets to reach their audiences. By having these open discussions, we were able to consider different perspectives that may help our work to better resonate with audiences, including clients.”

Constance Falourd, Senior Account Director, France: “WAW provides the chance to immerse ourselves in a new culture. As a member of the diversity team, our preparations for our stay involved sharing extensive knowledge about the country and its people to get to know them better. I believe it’s a crucial step to enrich our experience in the visited country. “Coming together provides an amazing opportunity for mutual learning. Personally, I particularly enjoy dinner time, as it offers the perfect occasion to share amusing stories about local customs or phrases that vary from our own backgrounds and allows us to come up with new ideas to include more diversity within the agency. It’s a delightful way to learn from each other and strengthen our bonds.”

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