An Interview with the Founder of Wolfhouse
Remotely distributed teams are on the rise globally. By 2020, 59% of companies plan to have more than half their teams working remotely.
I interviewed Martin Studenčan, the founder and CEO of Wolfhouse, who started the first coliving house for hosting remote team offsites in Tenerife, Spain.
Why did you launch Wolfhouse?
Employee dissatisfaction costs global enterprises over $300M annually in the US.
Startups are trying to boost retention and hiring by offering perks like free food, dog-friendly policies, and gym memberships. But these simply suppress the symptoms of dissatisfaction without addressing the core problem.
While most offices have a kitchen or dining space for socializing, but often there’s no space – mentally or physically – to recharge before getting back to work.
And studies have found that more frequent vacations or time spent outside of a regular office space boosts productivity and performance.
I thought – shouldn’t there be another way? What would an ideal working environment look like?
The first impulse to start a coliving space came from years of experiencing these frustrations in the traditional working environment.
In 2016, I relocated from London to Tenerife, Spain. I put together a small team, and in February 2017, we opened Wolfhouse. We believe it is the first coliving and co-working house designed for teams in the world.
At Wolfhouse, we want to create the best environment for remote teams and startups.
We attract distributed teams who come together once or twice a year to meet face-to-face. We also host companies and startups looking for an unorthodox offsite experience.
How do you create a great offsite?
We’re thoughtful about crafting the right environment for teams to work productively, achieve their goals, recharge efficiently, and strengthen relationships.
Teams live and work under one roof at Wolfhouse. We have accommodation, a fully equipped office space overlooking the Atlantic ocean, a Skype room, a siesta room, indoor and outdoor communal areas – all in one place.
There’s a swimming pool, garden with palm trees and extraordinary sunsets over the Atlantic ocean.
We recently hosted an augmented reality startup. They finished the new build of their game during their stay at Wolfhouse, but also had a lot of fun. They were up at 3AM, laughing and jumping in the pool.
A security company with offices in London and Prague came to Wolfhouse and set a goal to launch a new product by the end of the week. They successfully did, while enjoying team-building activities in between. They’re already planning to come back.
What does a healthy team look like?
See this wolf pack. The leader, the alpha female, is in the very back. Not the front. She protects the wolf pack from any attacks and ensures they follow a clear path.
A great leader doesn’t necessarily lead from the front. Leadership is about taking care of the team, setting the right direction, and making sure no one is left behind.
And it’s not just about surviving as a team. It’s about thriving together. Is your team trying to survive or advance toward greater growth and happiness?
That’s the vision of Wolfhouse, which is rooted in the manifestation of employee happiness. In a world where too many employees are burning out, we want teams to stay happy and productive over the long-term.
What does the future of remote teams look like?
The number of teams and individuals working remotely is growing rapidly. New coworking spaces are popping up every day, and more people are working from coffee shops.
We’ll see coffee shops start to look more like coworking spaces. And coworking spaces will become more like coffee shops, with space for socializing.
In the future of work, people want more and more flexibility. Companies that give employees the option to work remotely will have a competitive advantage.
Traditional companies should start implementing more flexibility as soon as possible. In larger organizations, changing policies can be a challenging and slow task. But those who resist might suffer higher employee turnover and dissatisfaction.
Start making small changes, even if it’s just by hiring freelancers and testing out a more distributed workforce.
Of course, there are some negative aspects of remote work. There’s a higher risk of loneliness. That’s why we need a global community supporting people who work remotely.
Nothing beats face-to-face interaction. And for this reason, we created the Wolfhouse.
What does your ideal team offsite look like? Share in the comments below!