Pooling resources at the company offsite
By Xanthe Vaughan Williams
A bout this time last year I wrote about our company away day in Manchester and how a historical tour of the city had confirmed my own views about the importance of experiencing life first hand.
Last week, we returned from our first international offsite for two years. We had been fortunate enough to make it to Greece and back in March 2020 – days before borders and front doors closed across the world – but 2021’s event didn’t happen.
There’s a danger of coming across as unbearably smug when writing about team bonding events in sunny places but that’s really not my intention here. I’d just like to urge anyone who is hesitant about gathering their colleagues together to put their concerns aside and just do it.
It may be that we were all a little giddy from being released after lockdown, but my goodness it was fun to be in a big group again. Every year there’s a little voice at the back of my mind wondering whether teammates really want to spend three days in close proximity with their colleagues. You’d have to ask them directly of course but I certainly came home feeling that I couldn’t possibly work with a better bunch of people.
Did much work get done, other than the day-to-day account work? Well yes, we did have a formal session in which everyone shared their experiences of failure and talked about what they had learned from it. A glass of wine may have helped this along. But more importantly, over the three days people got to know their colleagues from other offices better. Little things, not worth instigating a Zoom for, were discussed beside the swimming pool. New ideas for our international clients cropped up during a walk in the hills. And everyone was able to see colleagues from other offices as real, three-dimensional people rather than moving pictures on a screen.
Flexible working is great. Nobody enjoys long commutes on a daily basis and being able to fit home and working lives together more easily can only be a good thing. But in my opinion, to work as an effective team, nothing will ever beat the sheer joy of getting together and having a thoroughly good time.
Xanthe is a co-founder and director of Fourth Day PR