Carry-on in front of a plane

Inside 5 Horizons: First In-Person Company Outing as a Remote Employee

5 Horizons Takes to the Sky: Elina Katrin, a remote copywriter at 5 Horizons, shares her experience flying to Boston for a company holiday party.

As a fully remote employee, I quickly learned the importance of team building. I’m grateful to have easygoing and respected relationships with everyone I see on the Google Meet screen on a weekly basis, and I find joy in being able to joke around with my coworkers about our pixelated backgrounds and share pet anecdotes.

Being able to have fun at work goes a long way toward my productivity and mental health, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Unless that other way included occasional in-person interactions, in which case—yes, please.

This past December, I was among three out-of-state employees who flew out to Boston for our company Holiday Party. I had an opportunity to finally see my coworkers in 3D, and I gladly took it.

Unlike Nia Chang and Ismery Carrosco Bera, my coworkers whose international travels took eight and 33 hours respectively, I packed a suitcase, a carry-on, a husband, and hopped on an hour-and-a-half plane ride from Northern Virginia. Easy peasy. I brought a full suitcase for a 5-day trip because I couldn’t decide which professional outfit to wear on my first and only (for now) in-person work day in the 5 Horizons office. Not to mention we had company headshots to plan for!

The main reason why I made the journey to New England, the holiday party, was the third day of my trip. By that point, I had already seen most of my colleagues in the flesh, so I was more excited than nervous. After starting the day bright and early with the Secret Santa gift exchange and breakfast at the office, all of us split into teams and embarked on a full day of scavenger-hunt-incentivized city exploring. It involved putting on a Grinch onesie, singing a holiday carol in public, eating a lot of pastries from the North End, and so. much. walking. All of it was worth it though, because my team got second place! We celebrated accordingly when the whole company gathered at Puttshack to play mini-golf and spend quality time together.

Flying out for two days of in-person interaction was absolutely worth it (not just because I won the mini-golf round, my first ever!). Such an eventful work outing not only brought me closer with my coworkers but also gave me the relaxation and positive attitude needed to glide through work in the following weeks. 

This experience further reminded me of the importance of fun for team building, and I was happy to hear that my colleague Ismery felt the same way. “Fun is extremely important for team building because it allows the team to get to know each other at a deeper level and share laughs and experiences that we’ll always remember,” Ismery said. 

I was relieved to hear that even her 33-hour travel journey also felt worth it after the exciting day 5 Horizons employees spent together.

“I always enjoy connecting with the team in person. The interaction over Google Meet is not the same,” Ismery explained. “You really get to feel the energy of the person and build more of a connection. My favourite part about spending time with the team was seeing everyone in their own element outside of work over a computer screen.”

This trip turned into a refreshing adventure that gave me a chance to interact with my colleagues outside of work and create shared memories. Returning to remote work after this fun outing seemed easier than ever before. I felt like I was a part of a team that now saw me, not just as Elina the copywriter, but as Elina the mini-golf master and cannoli enthusiast. Meeting everyone in person has brought an invaluable personal element to our weekly virtual meetings.

A woman eats a cannoli while holding a box of pastries from Mike's Pastry.
Elina Katrin, happily eating a cannoli from Mike’s Pastry.

To watch the travel adventures my coworker Ismery and I experienced on our way to the 5 Horizons’ in-person team building in December, check out our Instagram reel.

The Inside 5 Horizons series includes stories and perspectives from our amazing team. Get a glimpse into our company culture each month by hearing from the unique voices of our copywriters, strategists, project managers, and more.