James Caan of Dragon’s Den fame said, “Employers should take the long view and invest in their teams.” While J. Paul Getty said that “the employer generally gets the employees he deserves.” Believing and hoping this to be true, Admiral PR’s management arranged for staff from all offices to join together in a long weekend trip to the Castillian capital in sunny southern Spain. Barcelona is famous for many things including eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, two UEFA elite stadiums, a very rich football team and a total population of over three million. We know that employing people is about more than numbers, however, and Barcelona’s primary role on this occasion was to provide an exciting back drop for some team-building time away.
We already know we have a good group of people who work well together, within and between the different offices, but these things can never be taken for granted. Someone once said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” This is why, throughout the year, we have an on-going training programme with regular learning sessions, office lunches, inter office meetings and Skype discussions. The intention of the Barcelona Christmas trip was not only to continue to motivate the team over a fairly intense seventy-two hours together, but to give everyone a chance to get to know each other on a personal basis outside the office. Of course, it was also important to have fun; not simply because ‘unhappy workers are bad for business’, but because we genuinely enjoy spending time together.
Setting off early on Friday 23rd November, the different regional teams congregated at Newcastle Airport where the surprise destination was finally revealed. Leisurely sightseeing and meals were combined with a competitive treasure hunt between two groups with individuals mixed together from across the offices. One person said, “The seating plan when we got together for dinner and the competitive activities were great fun and meant that I mixed with and met a lot of people I had not spent any time with before. It made me see what a strong company it is in terms of numbers.” Another said, “It wasn’t like being away with colleagues but more like a group of friends. We didn’t once talk about work and we were all just so pleased to be there.”
One person admitted to having been apprehensive about going away with colleagues, as a relatively new member of the team, but had seen a much more relaxed side to others and felt it had been a positive exercise and a very pleasant surprise. Another said that as the youngest person in the office, it had been good to get to know people on a personal level and that she would now feel more confident in asking others for help if she needed it.
“While we were away, we looked out for each other – even if it was solving clues in the treasure hunt, helping with eyelashes and handing out Strepsils – and I am sure we can extend this support into our work lives as well. It’s great to really feel part of such a good team.”