The island of Bintan opened itself to us like an oasis that we'd been waiting for. The choppy ferry ride from Tanah Merah to Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal had rattled us, and while the Construct Digital Singapore and Vietnam teams had taken the catamarans separately, we shared the same sentiment: We just want to be on land.
But like how it usually is on trips, the sight of our destination was enough to blot out the memory of a somewhat jagged journey. The sea sitting pretty under the sun, trees after trees lining the pathways, sand skirting the shore—what a welcome and delicious view. Our workspaces in Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City seemed worlds away.
We arrived in Bintan on a Friday, 17 February. The weather in the island was perfect, holding the promise of a good time.
We were all ready for the 2017 Construct Digital offsite.
First Day: 17 Feb 2017
The Construct Digital offsite is that time of the year when the Vietnam and Singapore teams would converge, away from the rigidities and limitations of Skype- and Slack-hosted conversations. It's also that time when we get a full picture of last year's achievements, and the plans and projections for the months ahead.
For this year, we huddled in one of the conference rooms of the lush and lovely Bintan Lagoon Resort. Here, the agency's cofounders Charanjit Singh and Alfred Lee regaled us with the 2016 milestones (new office, growing team, targets exceeded) and disclosed the 2017 goals (challenging but achievable).
Kelsey Meyer of Entrepreneur once said these pep talks "strengthen internal bonds," and Charan's and Alfred's energetic three-hour-long talk wasn't any different. It surely invigorated our proudly young team of 32 and brought all of us together, including our dear colleagues who could not make it to the offsite and joined us via Skype.
All ears during Alfred and Charan's talk
No one gets left behind: Uzma, our Strategic Planner, joining us for the team photo
Top dogs Alfred and Charan
After the team meeting, we were then shuttled to our home for the next three days, Club Mediterranean Bintan. The resort was a stunner. A parade of coconut trees stood in between the sea and the swimming pool, and somewhere in these premises, trapezes stood tall.
Cocooned inside the resort for the rest of the evening, we enjoyed our dinner, had drinks, took in the vibrant atmosphere—there was a live entertainment featuring Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, and Bruno Mars impersonators. The fun didn't end there. Some of us played card games that ran well into the night.
Not too shabby. Just kidding, the place is amazing.
Second Day: 18 Feb 2017
What's a company offsite without the requisite team building exercises? A Forbes article rhapsodised the importance of team building: "It's good for the company culture and boosting the bottomline." The team from Deep Impact, headed by Kenneth Kwang, hosted the activities back in Bintan Lagoon Resort.
Within four hours, we participated in high-energy activities and strategic games. While most of these relay games roused our inherent kiasu-ness, in the end, we realised that it's always better to work together—in Kenneth's words, "To move far, you have to move together." Trust and team confidence issues were resolved via the famous trust fall. There were also intimate huddles where we got to know our colleagues a little bit more.
"Successful people take action." It wouldn't be a stretch to say that this was everyone's favourite lesson from the team building activities. Why sit around when you can just carpe diem it? We left the room exhausted but exhilarated.
Team-strengthening games that lasted for hours—good times!
Third Day: 19 Feb 2017
It was the last day of the offsite, and we had the entire morning to ourselves. Some of us hung out by the beach or played games by the bar. Some went for a walk; others went for a massage.
Overall, it was a peachy and productive stay. Corporate retreats are necessary to give the team members that needed boost and inspiration, and we're all happy to be part of this one, which had that nice balance of work and fun (shoutout to Eva for organising it!).
The only thing that got most of us a bit jittery was the thought of the ferry ride back to Tanah Merah. Almost half of us had reassuringly taken Dave's Travel Calm Ginger, mentally and physically readying ourselves for the trip ahead.
Well, what do you know! The ferry ride back to Singapore was tranquil, surprisingly uneventful.
All those worries for naught. All was well.
It's going to be a great year ahead.
P.S. A company team building is a viable source of inside jokes, memes, and stolen shots. That's why we're dedicating precious space for:
This boy band springing out from Bintan's rocky formations
Sid's emotive solo walk
Team Vietnam looking adorable
Food, of course!
The Poker tournament held inside the mahjong room
The Poker and UNO tournaments held inside the mahjong room
This random busride shot
Delvin's suave do-the-dab move
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Cover photo and the team building photos courtesy of Deep Impact Singapore
Memes and other photos from Construct Digital team