Want to know 5 Flytographer rituals that make us who we are?

Hi! Nicole here, founder of Flytographer. One thing I really love about building a startup, is you get this rare chance to architect the kind of workplace culture you love. Imagine you could build your company culture from scratch. What would it look like, feel like? What traditions would you start, stop?

At Flytographer, that first meant developing company values that aligned with my heart, mind and gut (you can read about our values here). It meant hiring the kind of people who align with those values and who you are excited to pioneer new trails with.

And, it meant creating *rituals* that help deepen our connections, showcase appreciation for hard work/impact… and most importantly are hella F.U.N.

Over the six years of Flytographer we’ve developed a few:

1. Surprise! You’re Awesome Lunch

We jump-scare a team member who had gone above and beyond and exemplifies our values by showering them with confetti as they walk in the door. Everyone shouts “Surprise! You’re Awesome!”, there’s a quick speech on why they are such a rock star and we give them a massive hand drawn card where everyone writes what they appreciate most about that person. Then we all eat tacos together 🌮because tacos are life.

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2. Prosecco Friday

Every Friday afternoon we gather as a team and share one highlight from the week (work/personal or even a lowlight). It helps us stay connected in the small ways that build connective tissue across a team. Often there are tears of joy because we are a super mushy squad, and Courtney always makes everyone laugh at least 3 times. We recently started using Athena, our conference owl so our remote team members feel like they are right in the room, tears, laughs and all.

3. Payment Dance Party

In the very early days of Flytographer, every time a booking came through it was a BIG DEAL. So we created a #payments slackchannel and everyone would drop “dance party” giffys, in slack to celebrate. This obviously changed as we scaled from 5 bookings a day to 50… but we still see the occasional dance party meme pop in there and it always makes me smile.

4. Secret Bathroom Dance Party

The rituals don’t stop at the HQ office in Victoria, Canada… we bring them to our photographers at our Annual Global Flytographer Meetup. Say hello to the “Bathroom Dance Party”. It started accidentally at our 2nd meetup in Barcelona where we discovered a huge co-ed bathroom in the basement of a bar. It was very glam lounge-y and literally had a photo booth in the middle of it! All 40 of us crowded in and took a massive group selfie as we jumped and boogied. Here’s a photo from last year’s meetup where we stealthily took over an unsuspecting bathroom in Lisbon. We are off to Santorini this year, so stay tuned if we are successful at our our 5th Annual Meetup 🕺🏿💃👯‍♀️

5. Annual Summer Garden Party

This ritual may be my favourite. I host the entire team for a long table dinner in my back garden every August. Summer is our busiest season so late August is the perfect time to recalibrate, celebrate and enjoy a long table dinner outside. I set the table with adorable place cards crafted by a local artisan, Kate Campbell and gorgeous flowers from Root Cellar, a local singer plays guitar and we enjoy a delicious meal from Toque. Badminton 🏸battles are won and lost and everyone dresses in a theme (this year’s was black and white). It’s kind of my love letter to the team, to thank them for all their hard work and allow us to eat, drink, laugh and be merry together on a warm summer night. Here’s a few photos from our 3rd annual garden party last August.

team photo at garden party
garden party table set up
guitar player at the garden party
badminton racquets at the garden party
cocktails with the group at the garden party
Girl laughing at garden party
office team cocktails before the sit down dinner
two girls hugging and having fun at the office garden party

What kind of rituals do you have and love at your company? We’d love to know. Drop us a DM on social.

PS – If you’re interested in reading more stories on startup rituals check out this one by Lenny R, from Airbnb.

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