Author Archives: varnmedia

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

marathon

Running your business is just like running a marathon

Every year thousands of people take part in various runs and marathons, pushing themselves to the limit. They are constantly training and improving, just as businesses should be. 

Despite their differences, men and women of all ages take part in these events with the shared desire to reach the finish line. To make it to the end goal and to keep improving on their previous time, these sportsmen and women are constantly training, adapting and investing in the right kit.

If people didn’t train for these events, they would be wholly unprepared. Perhaps the same is true in organisations. Some companies think that the odd team outing or team building session will be enough to energise their team and get them to where they need to go.

Just as we prepare for sporting events, businesses should be investing in staff and providing consistent team building days combined with effective training and tools to keep motivated back at the office.

Most team meetings are regarded as tedious and unnecessary when they should be creative and energising. We can help team leaders not just when they are with us for an Away Day but also when they are back in the office preparing for that dreaded team meeting. If you’d like to inject some passion and energy into your team meetings please get in touch to organise a free consultation.

training and development

Why training and development is just as important as building a great team

Whilst building a great team who can get on and work well together is a great achievement, the training and personal development of this team can provide a much-needed boost for your business.

Training is a great opportunity to expand the knowledge base and skills of your current employees. Whilst this may seem costly at first, long-term it will save you money on trying to recruit staff for positions that can instead be filled by a current team member. Training and development of staff has plenty of benefits for the employer and the employee.

So what are the benefits?

Firstly, there will be improved employee performance and employee satisfaction as they will feel that they are being invested in and will feel more confident in their role after further training. This is not only great for the employee but also means that they will be more productive and feel empowered to perform better, therefore benefiting the business as a whole.

Training will also give the team more expertise. Different employees will have different roles within the business, meaning their training and development will differ to that of their colleagues in order to strengthen the specific areas that they need to work on. This will allow your business to have experts in different areas, which will be appealing to your potential clients.

Perhaps one most vital to businesses is the potential for training and development to reduce employee turnover. Employees are now looking for a workplace where they feel supported and have opportunities to grow, and employers need to start responding to this. Training and development is seen as a huge benefit for staff and if they feel that they are being invested in they are likely to support the growth of the business and stay longer.

Training can be of any kind relevant to the work or responsibilities of the individual. There are various training methods including:

  • Mentoring schemes
  • Individual study
  • In-house training
  • Training courses
  • Blended learning

The importance of training and development cannot be stressed enough. It gives a company a great reputation and will greatly improve productivity and happiness within a team.

team building

The benefits of getting your team together

Over the years, we’ve seen businesses becoming more focused on their employees and how they work together. Whilst workplaces are still hardworking and in some cases competitive, the importance of collaboration and friendship between staff has been seen as key to continued success.

As a result, team building activities have increased in popularity. Team building activities can range from a short activity to a retreat lasting a couple of days depending on the needs and desires of each group. Team building is seen as a fun break from work, but ultimately there is a purpose behind them, which is to develop the skills, knowledge and relationships of your staff.

There is a range of benefits to be had from team building, such as:

Increased Motivation

Team building activities can help to create momentum and make employees feel invigorated and more confident in their own, and their team’s ability.

By working together teams can motivate each other and feel supported through each task. This can in turn increase productivity, as everyone is working together and bouncing off each other.

Encourages Creativity

There are some team building activities that require more thought and creativity than others. Within your employees, there will always be people who have different ideas and approaches than others in the team.

Whilst this can sometimes feel negative due to conflicting ideas, allowing everyone to voice their ideas and have an input can actually have a positive effect, by “cross-pollinating” the business with different ideas.

Team building allows people to unleash their creativity and makes them realise that they are allowed to give an input, even back at the office, to help contribute to tasks and ideas.

Improved Communication

This is perhaps one of the main benefits of a properly planned team building session. By taking employees away from their desks, away from work and away from the confines of the office they are able to have a better space to have some fun and get to know their colleagues.

Team building activities can be a powerful way to develop communication and trust, whilst helping to develop your employees further. To provide full benefit, they need to have a real purpose and be properly planned, rather than just being a “fun day out”.

Venn diagram showing the elements of ikigai as they merge into a wheel

Use Ikigai to improve your outlook on life and job satisfaction.

 

Many people work at jobs just so they can afford to live, eat and survive. The majority of us also experience some sort of feeling of dread in the hours of Sunday evening all the way through to the start of your work day on the Monday. The Japanese theory of Ikigai suggests that you are only dreading going to work because you haven’t got enough balance in your life. If you were to align all of the elements of Ikigai, then it wouldn’t be such a problem to go into work on Monday morning.

Craftsmen, teachers and farmers seem to have found their Ikigai. They are pursuing a career in the thing they enjoy and are passionate about creatively. Also, a lot of people have become successful in other jobs without ever finding their ikigai.

 

Let’s get started on finding your ikigai. You must first ask yourself these four questions:

  1. What do I love? (Passion)
  2. What am I good at? (Profession)
  3. What can I be paid for? (Vocation)
  4. What does the world need? (Mission)

Here is a visual representation of the concept of Ikigai and how you can fit your own answers into a balanced and happy life for yourself:Venn diagram showing the elements of ikigai as they merge into a wheel

In the book “Ikigai the Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” by Hector Garcia and Fransesc Miralles, they state the 10 rules to follow when in search for your own Ikigai.

  1. Stay active and don’t retire
  2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life
  3. Only eat until you are 80% fill
  4. Surround yourself with good friends
  5. Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise
  6. Smile and acknowledge people around you
  7. Reconnect with nature
  8. Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive
  9. Live in the moment
  10. Follow your ikigai

 

Many people feel that Ikigai is the secret to living for longer. This is because whilst japan has their fair share of natural disasters, their life expectancy is among some of the best in the world. Due to this it has become clear that whilst eating healthily and exercising regularly are important factors of living a long life, so it having a clear sense of purpose.

Take Jiro Ono as an example of this. At the age of 92, he is currently the oldest Michelin chef in the world. He has had the passion to create the best sushi for most of his life and each day he seeks to improve on the day before. He believes that he still hasn’t mastered it.

 

Boss business team meeting

How Valuable Is Your Job?

 

David Graeber, the anthropologist, recently published a book which stated and unraveled why up to 40% of us secretly think our jobs aren’t necessary or could easily be done by a software or mechanism.

To back this theory, a survey carried out by YouGov in 2015 found that 37% of people believe that their job makes no “meaningful contribution”.

Alongside many wonderful facts and theory’s, we are reminded of John Maynard Keynes’ 1930 prediction that by the year 2000 due to technical advances the working week would have reduced from 40 hours to 15.  The unfortunate truth is that this hasn’t happened.

If we were to reduce the working week many people wouldn’t be able to afford to feed their families. Besides, people are seriously connected to their jobs and most will spend more than the required 40 hours a week working or thinking and mulling over their work at home.

 

The technological advances that we have created have prolonged the hours we work rather than shortening them because we can now access emails out of hours and are connected to work with our mobile and desktop devices.

Some companies have invested in policies such as Zmail, where email servers are closed off out of hours and at weekends so that the staff can have separate lives from work and then be able to come back in refreshed and re-motivated.

 

london corporate job

 

But even if we do have time to shut off, many come to work and feel sluggish and slightly angered due to the fact that they don’t think their job is worth anything or having any contribution at all to the world around them. In fact, they just stay because they’ve become committed and the money is good.

People tend to go along with the majority and conform along with everyone else who feels the same way. They then pretend and mask the fact that their jobs don’t really do anything or are needed for anything.

 

Employment is at an all-time high at the moment and more and more people are seeing the likeliness that they’ll find a new job If they quit and get a new one. Smaller start-ups and roles in public service are now seen as more professional and respectable, meaning there’s a larger threat to larger multi-national companies with all of these ‘pointless jobs’.

These larger companies are working hard to make themselves seem like worthy companies with the use of an annual volunteering day or some wonderful imagery in the company report.  Unfortunately, people aren’t that gullible and it’s time to revisit and reinvent purpose at all levels within organisations for all teams and individuals.

 

For a purposeful conversation, contact us here.