I recently had the pleasure of attending one of my favourite events of the year so far. The event was WeWork Summer Camp held in Eridge Park, East Sussex. I feel very grateful that I got to spend it with some of my Dreamr team members. Organised by WeWork, Summer Camp is an incredible festival held every year in various locations around the world. This year’s festival was held in England. An opportunity I thought was too good for myself and my team to miss out on.
Despite a 6 hour drive down from Manchester, I was thoroughly supportive of my team attending such an amazing opportunity and encouraged them to sign up.
My reasoning behind this runs far deeper than a fun weekend of free food and beer! I believe events such as WeWork Summer Camp can offer companies opportunities that will benefit them in ways they hadn’t already considered. Opportunities that can help a company grow, learn new things, and for everyone to return to the office with a new-found enthusiasm towards their team and themselves.
I’ve created a run down of why I feel it’s important for businesses to attend more events like WeWork Summer Camp, and how I feel attending this year’s event has made me feel more confident in my role as CEO and made the Dreamr team even stronger.
One thing I quickly realised when I stepped foot into the festival was the sheer amount of people from different companies around the world that would be attending Summer Camp. Everyone was either a member of WeWork (renting out office space for their business) or a WeWork employee. It was a great opportunity to meet likeminded business people and get to know more about their stories and backgrounds. It gave me an unexpected opportunity to network and to connect with people I wouldn’t normally. Chatting to other guests from around the world, learning about how they grew their business and sharing my story was hugely rewarding. I made some fantastic contacts and friends, and so did other Dreamrs. It was great to be able to chat to ambitious people in a totally different and much more relaxed environment.
2. A Unique opportunity to bond with your own team
When Summer Camp was first announced, the reason I encouraged my team to attend was because I believed it would offer a unique opportunity in which my team could bond. I can safely say this was exactly what happened! Its one thing to go to a festival in your spare time, however, attending a festival with people from the office is a totally different experience. It gives you the opportunity to open up to each other, learn, act natural and become genuine friends, rather than just ‘work friends’.
I think it’s highly important that team members get on well with the people they spend 8 hours a day with. From my point of view as CEO, I wanted to get to know my team better, in an environment that was totally different to the office we are used to seeing each other in. I think it’s important as a CEO, to be someone your team feels they can be open and honest with.
Taking part in the amazing activities WeWork Summer Camp provided really brought us all together as I hoped. I think it was great for the Dreamr team to take part in activities that weren’t work related. From kayaking to quidditch, there was a lot of team work required. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. Living in close quarters allowed my team to open up to each other (and myself), something they may not have felt comfortable doing beforehand.
3. Educating companies on the importance of CSR and ethical practices
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is very important to me. As a trustee for Kidscan and with Dreamr’s ongoing contribution to local Manchester charities, I thoroughly support the practise of CSR within business.
WeWork displayed successful examples of CSR through their Summer Camp. The most notable was the decision to eliminate meat-based meals for the entire weekend. In my opinion, this was an incredibly bold action and one that didn’t come without backlash. WeWork also introduced a single use plastic ban. This meant that water and drinks were only provided in cans and all the cups were fully recyclable.
Sustainability is a hot topic recently, WeWork latched onto that and decided to act as a role model in leading the way to be a an environmentally conscious organisation, showing others that they will still have an amazing weekend of fun, music and food despite the absence of meat and plastic water bottles.
I understand why WeWork enforced this change to Summer Camp this year. They are a globally conscious company. WeWork are committed to being as ethical and sustainable as possible, and that is the mission they aim to share. Summer Camp was the perfect opportunity to reach out to a lot of people.
In all honesty, I didn’t miss meat at all for the 3 days I was at Summer camp (like I initially thought I would), and neither did any of the other Dreamrs. I am now much more open to cutting down my meat intake back at home. I am also more conscious of the amount of plastic I use. Summer Camp was a fantastic example of CSR done successfully. It encouraged members to be more ethically aware and lots of us came home re-evaluating our contributions towards sustainability. As WeWork members, we got to learn more about WeWork’s culture and community. Summer Camp felt like an extension of WeWork and demonstrated the standard of incentives you receive as a member.
4. Talks and debates
Believe it or not, Summer Camp wasn’t just veggie burritos, beer and kayaking. WeWork strives to promote Summer camp as both social and educational, and boasts a global community full of thought leaders and influencers. Summer Camp provided talks and discussions that attendees could get involved with. There was a variety of different talks ranging from AI and tech talks, to mental health and sustainability.
The talks and debates offered something slightly more educational and gave attendees the opportunity for some ‘down time’. Its great that talks were provided as an alternative activity to those you expect at a festival. They certainly give the event more substance and remind you that even though Summer Camp is a celebration of food, music and drinks, we are all there because of the amazing businesses and leaders who contribute to making WeWork a thriving success.
Will I be attending next year?
Attending Summer Camp has been beneficial for so many reasons. Not just for myself as an individual, but also for Dreamr as a company. For the hundreds of other companies that attended and of course for WeWork as a business. Regardless of the industry you are in, Summer Camp style events have so much more to offer your business than what you initially imagine. From promoting ethical values and industry talks, to meeting other people who share similar interests and bonding with your team, you undoubtedly bring back a sense of ‘community’ and ‘family’ to the office. I think it’s a great incentive for teams and businesses. Events like Summer Camp allow your team to return to work full of appreciation. The experience gave me further confidence in my role as CEO, showing me how supported I’ll be by my team no matter what the challenge will be.
There is only one thing I would change for next year’s WeWork Summer Camp. This year only half of the Dreamr team attended Summer Camp. Next year my aim is to get every single one of us there!