Every year, we meet up for the annual company retreat. However, there may be other times throughout the year that you want to meet with other people. This could include:
- attending conferences together
- getting together for a Christmas meal
- local co-working
- client onsites
- client pitches
One of the other ways that you can get together with other humans is to have a meetup.
We plan financially for every human to be involved in one meetup per financial year. However, it is not expected that every human will necessarily attend a meetup every year. You should attend them as often as is necessary.
What is a meetup at Human Made?
A meetup is an opportunity for a team, department, or project group to get together to work on a specific project. We don’t plan for every team to have one every year, but rather expect meetups to be proposed as they are needed. Examples of reasons you may propose a meetup:
- to kick off a new project or initiative
- to work on a specific project that would benefit from time in person
- to have a sprint
- to get some focused work done together as a team
- to learn together (e.g. peer coding/running internal workshops)
- to work on a meta-project
Meetups should usually (but not always) be cross-functional, comprising members of departments meeting up to work together, rather than specific teams. An exception to this might be coming together to do some role-specific training, or work on a role-specific project, but you should investigate other mechanisms for this (conferences, online workshops, etc) as opposed to a meetup.
An important benefit to all meetups is that they provide an opportunity for humans to spend time with one another. However, this should not be the primary reason as there is space made throughout the year for other meeting up opportunities.
Some considerations before proposing a meetup:
- Meetups with budgets of over £3000 need to be agreed at least three months before the meetup
- Persons with billable roles will need to continue their day work (in a reduced capacity) while on the meetup. We should be able to plan for 50% days of billable work even when you are on a meetup.
- Unless there is a clear justification, it’s expected that meetups run Monday -> Friday, with travel time built in to those days. If teams agree to move travel to the weekend that is fine, but this should not mean accruing lieu time.
- The group proposing the meetup is responsible for planning, research, and budgeting. You can get additional support and ask questions in #company-meetups.
1. Propose the meetup
When you have agreed with a group that you wish to have a meetup, you should first prepare a budget and post on the meetups H2 to propose the meetup.
The budget spreadsheet is here. You should create a copy and complete it as best as you can when making your proposal. Here are some tips for filling it in:
- the budget tab is where you can fill in your proposed budget. You should fill this in with estimates. The Actuals tab is used for calculating the final actual costs. This is automatically completed from the other tabs so you shouldn’t need to edit anything here.
- flights – use TravelPerk to get quotes for each of the flights for your attendees.
- accommodation – find some potential accommodation for the week and divide that across all of the attendees.
- food – this will depend on where you are, but for budgeting purposes, you could estimate £50 per person, per day. If you would like to discuss, message Siobhan or Zoe (in #company-meetups).
- activities – again, this will depend on where you are, but £50 per person is a good estimate.
Note: we aim for all meetups to be within a variance of 5% on their budget so please try to be as realistic in your budgeting as possible. It’s better to be realistic about how much something is going to cost, even if it is expensive, rather than having something very over budget once it is wrapped up.
You should post on the Meetups H2 with the following information:
- Names: The names of the people attending
- When: Proposed dates
- Where: the location
- A link to the budget
- Total Cost
- Why? An outline of why it’s important to have a meetup
- Desired outcomes: A list of any desired outcomes.
This will be reviewed by the partners, finance, and people teams to:
- see if there are finances available
- to balance the proposal with others
- to ensure that it’s meeting business goals
- to ensure that it is possible within the company calendar
2. Planning your meetup
Once the meetup has been approved, your team will need to start planning it. You can ask for support from Daisy (in #company-meetups), who is able to assist you though it’s expected that the bulk of the planning will be done by the team itself. You may wish to assign deputies to each area to ensure that everything is covered.
You should book flights through TravelPerk. This helps streamline administration of the meetup by keeping all bookings and reports together.
Please refer to the travel policy in the staff handbook for guidance on booking travel.
Book accommodation which is comfortable and fits your purpose, but that is of a reasonable budget for your location. Again, you should already have a rough idea of how much this is when you created your budget and it shouldn’t fall much outside this.
Unless anyone has said they are willing to share, plan for everyone to have their own room. You should also ensure that there is adequate space for co-working and that the venue has good wifi. Alternatively, you may identify a local co-working space where you can book a room.
You should schedule your event ahead of time and with input from attendees. Some tips for planning your schedule:
- don’t try to fit too much in. Meetups can get intense and you may come away feeling that nothing has been achieved if you try to do too much/ try to achieve one or two major outcomes.
- build in down-time so that people have time to decompress
- ensure that adequate time is built in for client work. This should be agreed amongst the team beforehand
- ensure that everyone involved has had some input into the schedule and that it is agreed ahead of time
- plan in any facilitation you need, whether that is someone on the team itself or someone external
- Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them well in advance of the meetup
Food & drink
It is helpful to arrange meals in advance, otherwise at least some attendees will be spending time trying to figure out where to eat. Here are some tips:
- For lunch, Uber Eats and Deliveroo are good options. Or if there is a local cafe you could go there.
- In the evening, book tables at restaurants that you have identified in advance. This ensures that you have tables booked and aren’t stuck wondering where to eat. At least some of the dinners shouldn’t be compulsory so people can go and rest should they choose.
- If you have an Airbnb, villa, or house, it is worth ordering in some food such as breakfast and lunch from a supermarket. Or you may want to get a private chef or a caterer. This can work out cheaper than eating out for every meal.
- You can split your food budget however you choose, so you may want to eat some cheaper meals on some days so you can have a big dinner together one evening.
You should plan to do at least one activity together. Examples of things you could do are:
- Visiting a local site or exhibition
- An escape room
- A walking tour
- A cooking lesson
Throughout the process you should be regularly checking the budget. Whenever something is purchased, add it to the Detailed Costs tab on the spreadsheet.
Some good times to do this are:
- when all of the flights and accommodation are booked to see what the variance is on the budget
- a week before the meetup
- a brief check-in during the meetup to see how much has been spent so far
- once everyone has submitted their expenses for the meetup (Zoe will provide this information and come up with the final actuals)
3. After the meetup
Once the meetup is complete, you should write a report about it for the Meetups H2. This should include:
- A narrative detailing the event
- Any meeting notes
- Any significant decisions you made
- Any actions you have taken or will take
- A list of outcomes (noting whether these met the desired outcomes in the proposal)
- Your final budget