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PARALLAXploration: A Q&A with Guusje Bendeler and Jonathan Hanwit

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You’ve seen the video and you’ve heard about our trips on Bloomberg and Fast Company. Now let’s go a little deeper. We decided to ask Guusje and Jonathan a few frequently asked questions about our PARALLAXploration program. Check out their responses below!

What is the PARALLAXploration program?
GB: It’s a unique employee engagement program that helps create an inspired, engaged, hard working team. Each employee gets $1500 to travel once a year to unknown, secret destinations all over the world. They get an extra vacation day for their trips and are asked to ‘do good’ for at least a day at their locations. The team at home guesses where each team member is traveling to and can follow the trips on social media (Note: follow us on Instagram @thinkPARALLAX and follow the hashtag #PARALLAXploration)

JH: After the trip, there is an old-fashioned show and tell with slides, videos, food, and goodies from the trips. These are always a lot of fun. We learn a lot about cool destinations all over the world and about the person who went there.

Why did you introduce the PARALLAXploration program?
GB: We felt that the professional development budget was only partially used and we weren’t really being fully inspired by the typical professional development seminars. We are avid travelers ourselves and believe that travel inspires much more, makes you see things differently, immerses you in cultures and environments you’re not used to, and that, in turn, will change the way you look at things. I think our team will learn much more from that. This year though, we added back the professional dev budget since, of course, there are workshops, conferences, and trainings that are imperative for growth.

What’s different about this year’s PARALLAXploration trips?
JH: Well, a few of the things are the same. Everyone needs to go somewhere they’ve never been before, they can’t go to any of the same places as anyone in the office, they can’t tell anyone, which makes it fun, but in addition to that, they need to go by themselves and they need to spend one day giving back to the community.

Why did thinkPARALLAX decide to do the social good component?
JH: The social good component fits directly with our organization. For us, all of our projects are purpose-driven, so it only made sense that in our exploration of the world, each and every one of our employees gives back to the community that they are a part of!

Do you take a PARALLAXploration trip? 
GB: Yes! Jonathan and I asked the team to come up with our destinations. I won’t know where I go until I am at the airport and get my ticket and suitcase handed to me! I am beyond thrilled about the idea of not knowing where I’m off to and to see what the team has come up with. I hope it is a very unique, out of the box, out of my comfort zone destination since I have traveled so much already.

Funding the travel costs must cost a pretty penny. What makes it worth it?
GB: We think $1500 is not that much money for what we get back: a truly engaged, energetic, inspired and hard working team!

Learn more about PARALLAXploration >>

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