Payara Retreat 2023: Payara in Prague!

Payara Retreat (formerly “Payara Week”) is our annual, on-location event to become closer to one another, to put our ideas for Payara’s future success on the table, and to have some fun across all teams.

Last year, then-Payara Week was online, and we proved that we could connect well virtually. However, it meant a lot to meet again face-to-face, for the first time since Payara Week in 2020, the week before the world closed down!

A lot has changed since then – including the growth of Payara. Almost double the amount of team members, or“Payarans”, met for the renamed Payara Retreat in the beautiful city of Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.

Our global team gathered, from locations spread all over the world; from Arie, who travelled the furthest – 6,853 miles from Syamsudin Noor International Airport in Indonesia – to Petr, who lives in the outskirts of Prague and simply had to take a short car journey. It was a treat to match ‘real-life’ people to the faces behind the screens.

Our Head of People Julia wrote here in detail about some of the cross-team challenges we enjoyed as part of the event, but we’ll expand in this blog about some of the other activities …

Future of Payara?

The focus of Payara Retreat is to concentrate on the business and our place in it: where it is at, where it should be, what’s working well, and what we can improve. 

For this Payara Retreat, our CEO and Technical Director Steve Millidge asked us to think about ‘Where will Payara be in three years?’. We worked together in our functional teams to think about the evolution of the company and how our own job roles relate to this. 

Later in the week, we also worked together in groups that mixed different functional teams to think about solving business problems. Payara Retreat was an opportunity to really apply ourselves to the questions outside of the day-to-day work activities that sometimes get in the way of the bigger picture. One of Payara’s key differentiators as a workplace is the opportunity for everyone, not just senior leadership, to suggest change and make a real impact on the business. This shines through particularly at Payara Retreat, where we were asked directly: what would you change? 

Interactive Sightseeing Tour 

For most Payarans, it was their first time in Prague, and for many their first time in Europe! To really explore the city, as well as bond with each other as a team, we took to the streets in a CityQuester Sightseeing Tour.

These fun tours see you led, via a map and a phone, to locations across the city to complete challenges. We saw hidden gems we never would have found otherwise – like the beautifully decorated yet tucked away main post office – and completed tasks like acting out a play, dancing in the street, solving riddles and taking silly selfies. It got very competitive and very entertaining! At the end, we gathered to be awarded prizes and see what antics the other teams got up to – definitely a unique way to get to know each other and the city. 

Meal to Remember!

We all bonded during a memorable group meal at U Pavouka, a restaurant designed to offer a “medieval tavern” experience. We were served 12 rustic courses by candlelight, enjoying the entertainment of fire throwers and belly dancers, live musicians and even pirates! It was a raucous, exciting evening and for many a highlight of the trip.

Team Bonding 

Getting to know each other wasn’t confined to the conference room and planned events. Evening meals were adventures in themselves, exploring the city and finding the best food spots. One evening, Service Engineer Fabio became unofficial social secretary and led a trip to Prague Castle; others organised trips to nearby museums and to eat traditional Czech food. 

Those of us who enjoy running also had a mid-week jog over the Charles Bridge early in the morning, giving us a chance to see it as empty of tourists as it will ever be! We really enjoyed a team run, and decided it will definitely become a tradition for next Payara Retreat. 

Payara Goodies!

And it wouldn’t be a Payara event without specialised swag! All team members got a tote bag emblazoned with a special Prague-themed design, a Payara plush notebook, and a cap. There were also plenty of Payara t-shirts, pens and stickers to go around. 

At the end of the week, we all went back to our home countries full of new ideas about the future of the company and refreshed connections with those we see through a screen everyday. Can’t wait for next year!

Topics: Fish Food, NewsroomTagged , , ,

Back to Team Blog

Back to top