Altruistiq is a sustainability SaaS and helps some of the world’s largest companies to sustainably sell more, spend less, and save time. They chose West Lexham as the low impact venue to help achieve their goals of a sustainable company offsite. Read their planner’s guide to how they championed their mission to do more of what is measurably good and less of what is immeasurably bad in a cost efficient way, and what every company should consider when seeking to organise a successful and sustainable offsite.
As an impact driven company, keeping sustainability at the core of everything we do is critical. Our recent company offsite was no exception. In fact, it offered an unparalleled opportunity to champion our mission to do more of what is measurably good and less of what is immeasurably bad in a cost efficient way.
This article outlines how we navigated the potential impact of our offsite, highlighting five key components we believe every company should consider when seeking to organise a successful and sustainable offsite.
Deciding on a venue that is easily accessible via public transport, and meets Green Tourism recognised requirements is no mean feat. This was particularly true for us at Altruistiq as a purpose-driven, remote-first company, operating across Europe.
Enter West Lexham, a silver certified eco-friendly paradise, located on 22 acres of Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) protected wildlands, providing the AQ team with a holistic sanctuary. West Lexham embodies sustainability, giving guests space to recharge and recalibrate whilst practising sustainable values throughout its operations. Their key initiatives which particularly impressed us included:
Catering for 20+ people with a variety of dietary requirements with nutritious, nature-friendly food can seem daunting. At Altruistiq, we’re well aware of the extensive impact our diets have on the environment and the necessity to track this impact from farm to fork. So it’s essential to consider what we eat and how we grow it.
Having decided to adopt a ‘Climatarian diet’ for the offsite and choose lower-carbon options as much as possible, we hired the expertise of Jess Cattermole, an inspired local chef who offered a delicious, plant based, seasonal and organic menu. The food was sourced locally, even using the home grown produce from the West Lexham biodynamic garden to feed our ravenous team. We also followed a zero waste food policy, designing the menu around the ability to reuse leftovers in future recipes e.g. using leftover roasted vegetables for a veggie lasagne.
Finding the time and space in the offsite agenda to go beyond company building and focus on health and wellbeing initiatives can be difficult. Particularly as we all engage with health and wellbeing in a unique way based on individual preferences.
By continuously checking our agenda against our objectives we highlighted the need to ring-fence time for organised, shared health and wellbeing activities as well as opportunities for individual mindfulness. We went about this in a structured way – encouraging opportune moments that leveraged the surrounding environment, space and onsite facilities.
Examples are as follows:
An offsite can be a considerable time and cost investment. It’s therefore important to deliver results and outcomes that will have an ongoing, sustained impact on your team and business.
Harnessing the expertise of leaders in your industry is a great place to start learning and reconnecting with with your why. Providing relevant and thought provoking insight to your employees can inform your work and provide a long-lasting source of motivation. At Altruistiq, this took the form of a full-day field trip.
Wild Ken Hill, a 4000 acre re-wilding and regenerative agriculture project, provided us with the perfect educational and truly inspirational solution that left the whole team buzzing with excitement. The interactive, informative structure of the day was as follows:
Morning: Nick Padwick, one of the country’s most knowledgeable and leading regenerative farmers, introduced us to a variety of innovative farming techniques, demonstrating and sharing how these have led to impressive results in the form of soil health and yield improvements.
Lunch: A hands-on tree planting session saw the Altruistiq team plant >200 trees of a variety of species (including Blackthorn, Dogrose, Pine, and Oak – to name a few). Giving back to the biodiversity and health of the environment helped to reinforce and remind us of the importance of nature restoration.
Afternoon: An inspirational rewilding tour hosted by Dominic Buscall, where we learnt and saw exceptional re-wilding initiatives in practice – from reintroducing keystone species like beavers to heathland restoration. Dom also walked us through the financial and environmental opportunities and indeed challenges that re-wilding projects face today.
As biodiversity is a metric that we are building into our product, tailoring the day to align our mission was invaluable and has since sparked several business developments.
Incentivising lower carbon travel choices is challenging on two fronts. Firstly, there is a time and money trade off that needs to be made. Secondly, as a remote-first company we operate from across Europe, meaning that slower travel was not always the convenient and easy option.
We leveraged the offsite as an opportunity to celebrate a behavioural shift towards low emission travel, strategically organising the offsite logistics to promote lower impact options. Logistical considerations included:
Allowing time for mindful, opportunistic planning prior to your offsite will help unearth low impact, green options that align with your sustainability mission. It is a great opportunity to not only support local initiatives and communities but inspire and educate your fellow colleagues. Whether you are part of a start up, SME or large enterprise, these principles are essential to pulling off a sustainable offsite that is truly worthy of the time and financial investment.
Altruistiq is a sustainability SaaS and helps some of the world’s largest companies to sustainably sell more, spend less, and save time.
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