Although every Payaran is currently working from home in response to Coronavirus, the whole team is still buzzing from Payara Week, held on the stunning sub-tropical island of Madeira. While this is our fourth annual Payara Week, it’s our first time hosting the event outside England. Flying everyone out to Funchal, Madeira gave the whole Payara crew the opportunity for a warm, sunny break from late winter (though it felt more like home to our equatorial crewmember).
If you’ve followed this blog for the last year, you may know that Payara Week is our annual internal company conference, where we fly in every Payaran from around the world for a week of strategy and relationship building. At Payara we want to give everyone, from the Junior Apprentice to the Senior Team Leader, a platform to make their mark on the business. After setting a theme for the week’s programme, we encourage everyone to pitch proposals and ideas for initiatives that are both team-wide and company-wide for the upcoming year.
To build Payara Week’s schedule this year, we put out a call for sessions to the company, and we made each session however long the team felt they needed to be. So, some sessions were 30 minutes, and others half a day. We didn’t just host workshops and presentations, however. We also included learning opportunities, like a presentation workshop (hosted by a seasoned presenter) and a session defining techie terms and concepts for the non-techies (hosted by a senior developer). Engineers also visited the University of Madeira to share with students what Payara does and what a day in the life of a Software Developer really looks like.
Payara Week certainly isn’t all business. On Wednesday we toured the island with local tour guides Duarte and Marco at our helm. We drove along high cliffsides to the stunning Nun’s Valley, stopping for local bolo de mel, Madeiran sweets and local folk-song performances along the way. The following day the entire crew went out on the town for a traditional Madeiran meal that included espada, espetada and picanha. The warm island nights also meant the team met most evenings for communal ponchas and mojitos as we watched the sun set over the Atlantic.
While the team works from home in response to COVID-19, the energy and relationships built during our highly successful Payara Week has given us extra momentum to enter this unprecedented situation with confidence that we’re all in this together. After all, a key benefit of culture-building events like Payara Week is their reinforcement of our team and vision so that we’re strong and ready for the challenges as well as the rewards.