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We’ve just had our summer away day and realised that whilst we tweeted a lot about where we went and how much fun it was, we felt we should explain why it’s important to take the time out and spend the day together doing something fun.

What works

We usually start the day with some sort of activity which always helps to kick off the day by giving an initial focal point; something everyone has in common and something to get excited about prior to the day. Rachael will come up with a few ideas and gauge opinions from the team.

Getting out of the office means people feel instantly more relaxed; the conversation will flow easier and it probably won’t revolve round work. Afterwards it’s good to unwind, so we like to go for a nice meal and a few drinks. Time to relax together is really important, especially when so much time is spent working together under pressure.

Relationship building

When a new starter joins us, it can be a challenge to make them feel part of the team, and to ensure that the impact on the current dynamic is as minimal as possible. Away days allow relationships to form, meaning that new members feel part of the team much sooner.

Once we all get out of the office and the conversation starts flowing, you start to see the real people, not people’s ‘work’ persona, and without the stresses the working day brings there’s time to have a proper chat and find out what’s going on in people’s lives.

The activity part of the day is always fun and is a great way to encourage team building without it feeling enforced. For example at Christmas, we all went sledging at the Snow Centre; there’s no way of bonding quite like trying to get everyone into a rubber doughnut and hurtling through the snow.

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Suggestions of where to go

  • Up at the O2
  • Snow centre
  • Hiring a canal boat
  • Speedboating along the Thames
  • Festival (music, food, beer)
  • New restaurant
  • Cocktails
  • iMax

It doesn’t have to be a big deal

What’s really nice is that this doesn’t always have to be an enforced paid-for-by-the-company treat, we’re always open to suggestions of places to go. Our new Digital Designer, Alvaro asked if anyone wanted to go to Digital Revolution at the Barbican, one ‘office@uvd’ email later and we all had tickets. Earlier in the year Eddy asked if anyone fancied the new Wes Anderson film, so we all went down to RichMix to see that. It’s great that after spending all of the working day together, we’re happy to spend time together on an evening, and it’s nice to have those shared events to talk about.