Author Archives: varnmedia

one to one

Dos and Don’ts for good one to one meetings for your team

Feedback and the ability to discuss current working needs is crucial for the development of staff. However, many of us in a managerial position often find ourselves avoiding taking the time to commit to regular check-in sessions with team members despite knowing the benefits it can bring.

Some of the best leaders have one-to-ones with their team members every week or every month at a minimum, whether that be over lunch, whilst taking a walk or even travelling to a meeting. One-on-ones don’t need to be formal, but they should be clear to those involved for increased productivity.

Whether you do meetings once a month, or once a year, taking the time to sit down together and go a bit deeper with a dedicated one on one is worth doing. We’ve highlighted some dos and don’ts to help you make the most of these meetings.

The dos and don’ts of one on one meetings

Do:

  • Show your interest in the career goals of your employee, beyond their current role.
  • Provide a welcoming space for them to raise complaints or discuss problems
  • Be receptive to feedback about yourself too.
  • Create an action list to follow up on after the meeting.
  • Ensure feedback is constructive and balanced

Don’t:

  • Postpone them – this can send a negative message to staff and come across as a lack of interest.
  • Clock-watch – set aside a rough block of time, but allow as much time as is required for a more in-depth conversation.
  • Be too repetitive – try to have one to ones at different times of the week/month/year and change where you are having the meetings.
  • Spend the whole meeting talking – while feedback is helpful, you also need to listen.

How to scrap lengthy meetings for better productivity

More often than not, meetings leave us feeling bored or deflated. They are long, boring, and can be so disorganised that it feels like a complete waste of time. In the modern business world, there is no need for lengthy meetings that see little results and have no positive impact on productivity.

Instead, take a look at some of the ways you can change how you do meetings to benefit your team and your business.

Continue reading

person-1245959_640

The importance of encouraging your team to get outside

Many of us will have every intention of adding some adventure to our lives but when it comes to actually fitting this in we fall flat, despite the health benefits that come from being outside.

Having time out and time to enjoy the great outdoors is vital for our mental health. From a business perspective, encouraging your staff to get outdoors at lunch or during their time off will benefit the whole team. Staff who feel supported at work and who can unwind outside of work are more likely to give it their all when they are in the office.

Continue reading

team building

Competitive vs collaborative team building, which is better?

Team building activities come in all shapes and sizes and will suit different teams. You have to choose between the type of activity, whether it is indoors or outdoors and whether you want it to be a full day or half day. One other thing that you might want to consider is whether you opt for an activity that is competitive or something that requires the whole team to collaborate.

Continue reading

relaxation

Why we shouldn’t just apply the brakes this bank holiday

A Bank Holiday weekend offers the chance of having a 3 or 4 day period to just stop and breathe. These Bank Holidays should result in a more rested and energised workforce but it seems most of us are using these long weekends to play catch up. 

In the modern world, we are always attracted to hotels or other accommodation options that offer free Wi-Fi for visitors. Keeping in touch with the outside world and being able to access the web, games and other online features is something that is always a priority even when going on holiday. Wi-Fi keeps the kids happily entertained, but also gives adults the opportunity to take a sneak peek at their work emails.

Whilst leaving work behind you for a few days, it is vital that we allow our brains some time to just rest and reboot. Applying the brakes is no substitute for taking a proper break and leaving your business and co-workers to fend for themselves.

When we fully take a real break and step away from things that we are working so hard on, this gives us more clarity and enables us to spend extended time thinking without constant distractions. It could be argued that those in senior leadership roles whose primary responsibility is to set the vision and make decisions are even more in need of time away to allow them to think. Even if you are still thinking about work, doing it away from technology, colleagues and work emails will allow your brain to process information in a different way.

If you can’t get away for a proper break, change can be just as good for our brains as rest. Try to think of something that you could do over the that will be a change to your usual routine, be that playing a sport or trying out a new hobby. If you are a manager, you should be telling your team to take a break and spend time away from their technology as well.

Rest is essential for everyone, regardless of your seniority. It enables us to switch off, recharge and approach life and business in a completely different way. So for the next Bank Holiday don’t just slow down. Leave your gadgets alone and put your mind on charge instead.

achievement-3470201_1280

What to remember when investing in team building

Team building hasn’t always had a good reputation and often the phrase “team building” leaves employees cringing and wanting to run for the nearest exit. Despite its reputation, team building is a really important investment for businesses. It gets teams away from their desks, builds trust, encourages communication and highlights attributes of team members.

There are some key things to remember when doing some team building though.

Don’t make it feel like another day in the office 

The most successful, memorable team-building events are ones that don’t feel like a day at the office. Spending time together, sharing an experience or working towards a common goal  allows any employee bonding to happen more naturally than if there is a huge corporate focus on the team building process.

 

Ditch the routine

It can be tempting to do the same thing each time to keep the routine and to save time trying to organise another event, but trying new things with your staff can generate some more excitement and good energy amongst employees, which in turn benefits the business itself.

Choosing something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones can encourage the team to encourage and support each other in new ways. Forget the annual picnic and broaden your horizons.

 

Team building is an investment, not a splurge

Whilst you aren’t expected to spend thousands on team days out, you shouldn’t skimp either. You should spend some time thinking of ideas that the whole team will enjoy and invest a good amount of money making sure it will be a day that will create a buzz and get everyone talking.

It’s important to make your team feel valued and appreciated and to show them that they are allowed to have some fun.

 

Keep the positive energy going

Instead of letting motivation and excitement fall flat straight after your team building session is over, think of ways that you can keep the energy flowing. This could be anything from starting your week off with better and more energised weekly meetings to purchasing new artwork to brighten up the office. You want to create opportunities for people to interact with each other outside of a meeting room.

By getting employees to communicate, this could open up discussions that lead to ideas for your future team building days.

 

Team building has so many benefits for businesses. If there has been laughter and lots of discussion between your team, then it’s likely you’re on the right track to successful team building.

active-activity-adult-1430116

Why having fun is important for business

There are some businesses that will try and discourage fun in the workplace and who will steer clear of fun in the workplace or external team building activities, fearing that it could cause too much distraction and negatively impact the overall performance of staff. By doing so, these companies are missing out on a number of opportunities to save money and develop their current team.

Check out the ways fun can give your business a boost:

1. Fun combats stress

Playtime shouldn’t be reserved for children, adults need time to indulge in something enjoyable and fun too. By participating in an activity that gets us moving, makes us laugh, or that sparks our curiosity adults begin to feel more energised, more motivated and less stressed.

 

2. Experiences create longer lasting memories

As we take part in an activity we are using all five senses and we will often learn more doing something by doing, compared to when are reading or listening. Any lessons learned during a period of fun or activity are therefore more likely to be retained within our memory and any information learnt can be used later.

 

3. A change of pace shows different sides to a person

When staff relax or partake in fun activities, we often see a different side to them. This allows you to highlight the different personalities within your team and evaluate any strengths and weaknesses. You will get to see how they work and how they interact with people and also what they enjoy doing. This will help you to understand your team more and understand what motivates them other than money.

 

4. Allowing people to have fun encourages creativity

When different ideas are shared they can develop, which can help teams to identify new opportunities or solve current problems that they may be facing. By allowing teams to have fun, different individuals will often unleash their more creative side, allowing for a workplace that is driven by creative and innovative ideas, which can be worked on with the rest of the team.

 

5. Humans need interaction

Humans beings are naturally sociable, and most of us need to interact with others face to face. By doing this we develop a feeling of trust and loyalty, and even in some cases friendship, that can be a huge benefit in an office environment and make it a more enjoyable place to work. This feeling of membership ultimately makes staff feel more committed to their team, their work and the company they are working for.

 

Take a look at some of the ways you can have fun outside of the workplace with Team Building London.

storytelling

Stop working and start seeking out the stories

Everybody loves a good story and storytelling can be found in a range of forms, from books and movies to office jokes and music. It is ingrained into everyday life and each of us has our own preferred style of storytelling, but the importance of stories is how they can shape us and teach us.

This story puts into perspective our working habits and our approach to the things we do…

Lisa, a working mum, took two highlighters and used these to shade in her work diary for the coming week. She shaded some appointments green for boring, others yellow for energising. As expected the tasks such as meetings, listening to presentations, reading reports and attending statutory training were shaded green for dull and de-energising.

When she reviewed her week, Lisa noted that 80% of her time would be spent doing tedious and uninspiring activities. Lisa compared this to the energy and enthusiasm of her 6-year-old daughter whos days were full of laughter, ideas and discovery. Why shouldn’t Lisa’s work week be more like that?

Not content to live a life dominated by ‘green’ engagements, Lisa decided to try to turn her diary yellow by seeking out stories.

As a result, she restructured the agenda of her weekly meeting and approached it as if it was a film. She identified the perils, plot and ensured that the discussion concluded in a happy ending. She continued to change her week by challenging the finance director to replace spreadsheets with stories in his monthly presentation and, rather than read the pile of reports on her desk she visited each of the authors and asked:

· What challenges did they want to overcome?

· What could get in the way?

· Where could they end up?

Not only was she able to switch some of the events in her diary from green to yellow, but Lisa also felt more energised and engaged at work. Tough problems had been solved, exciting new initiatives launched and the team morale was higher than she’d ever known.

To be the best you can be in the workplace, you need to embrace creativity and start seeking the stories.