This Isn’t Your Standard Corporate Day Out in Cornwall
You’ve probably been part of team building work activities that feel like you’re in a scene from “The Office”. There’s always someone from your workplace who has to make the occasional toe-curling comment Ricky Gervais would be proud of.
No one likes the thought of having to sit through hours of talks, doing those dreaded role play exercises. It can be pretty lame. We’ve all been there.
Now, get that silly idea out your head.
This isn’t your average corporate day out.
We love to support the local community here, especially in an area that sees a drastic population change between summer and winter. But that’s the amazing thing about heading to Cornwall out of season – we’re all still here, but the crowds aren’t. So we’d like to share with you why getting outdoors for your team building day is so important. All sorts of good stuff comes from trying new things and appreciating the amazing coastline we have in this country. You’ll experience a ton of benefits that aren’t going to come about sitting in your meeting room trying to build structures out of dried spaghetti and marshmallows.
In our books, the less you associate the day with work, the better. That means giving everyone a lie-in and meeting away from the office. Take people into the outdoors and break down departmental structures, getting everyone involved together.
Bosses trying to make things “fun” can be cringe-worthy. Lots of companies have given up on running team days. People just don’t turn up, trying their best to avoid too much unnecessary interaction with co-workers (and not wanting to be bored to death by the suit asked to come in and talk about something dull as dishwater. But there are other ways to do this, that don’t make your staff roll their eyes and pretend to pull a sickie when asked if they want to volunteer to make sandwiches for your annual team building day.
We are proud to offer a bespoke corporate day out combining coasteering, surfing and go-kart racing.
We want to get people out of their comfort zone and instil a bit of healthy competition. Maintain all the reasons you’d run a traditional team-building day, but give it a twist (hopefully without all that eye-rolling).
Throw workplace hierarchies out the window
The likelihood is that not everyone at your company has been surfing before, jumped off cliffs into the sea and raced a go-kart just minutes from the Cornish coast. Putting everyone on a level playing field is a fantastic way to eradicate experiential prejudices. Ideas of hierarchy and seniority are thrown out the window. In the workplace, everyone is on a different a salary, with varying qualifications, backgrounds and levels of aspiration and motivation. It’s undeniable that arbitrary dynamics form between bosses and apprentices, interns and managers. Even people within a department or team may be fuelled by ulterior motives or unspoken disagreements.
But as the great waterman, Laird Hamilton, once said:
“We’re all equal before a wave.”
Challenging your team to take part in activities no one has ever done before will bring out a sense of equality, regardless of what everyone gets paid or how big their office is. Taking everyone coasteering might bring the office wallflower out of their shell. Or it might make the big-mouth reassess their bold claims, learning a bit of humility whilst tentatively peering over the edge of their first jump into the ocean.
And this will hopefully translate back into the workplace, moving the everyday environment to harbour less elitism and unfair ethical superiority.
Break down barriers to communication
In a foreign environment, we’re forced to focus on our similarities, rather than differences (a shared fear of heights, love of speed, or the excitement when standing on a surfboard for the first time). 86% of employees and executives believe that it is due to a lack of collaboration or effective communication that failures continue to occur in the workplace. (stat taken from Fierce Inc. study on the relationship between staff collaboration and ROI). This is only going to lead to a more efficient and problem-adverse company culture.
It might be the case that your team/colleagues don’t know each other very well. Something has got to be said for putting a load of strangers (or acquaintances) in a foreign environment, told to put on a wetsuit and jump around in the sea. It is basically impossible (I can confidently tell you from experience) not to laugh at an amazing wipeout or nose-dive. In the office, you must have seen people who use their suit and tie to put a wall up around them and make sure they only seem professional and proper. (We pride ourselves on being #deceivinglyprofessional here at the surf school…) .
So someone has performed the biggest belly-flop you’ve ever seen off their surfboard. Someone has tailspun into a hay bale on the racetrack. And the boss has snot hanging out his nose. Quite effortlessly, a barrier has been broken down that might otherwise be strengthened in the office.
Strengthen relationships, trust and diplomacy
Encouraging everyone to work together, support each other, be self-aware in a new (possibly slightly terrifying) environment, even be able to laugh at each other, will also increase emotional intelligence.
Awareness of others’ reactions and acting upon those yourself (whether you’re celebrating they just took the biggest jump without hesitation, or encouraging someone who seems disheartened from struggling with a specific skill in the water) is going to promote a healthier workplace and internal relationships will become more sensitive. An outdoor team-building experience, being aware of others around you is only going to help both tact and productivity in the long-run, rather than collisions and conflicts.
It doesn’t matter if the group knows each other well, or everyone has met each other for the first time. Group achievements will boost morale and motivation, if they’re celebrating that no one crashed on the go-kart track, successfully maneuvering the whole team out the water and scaling a rock face, or that everyone caught a wave in the surf.
These collective achievements and positive associations can foster a load of other components that are awesome to take back into the workplace. Pride, resilience, determination, peer support and motivation can transfer from being out in the elements into the workplace, by association with the scenario and people surrounding them.
New environments can affect productivity
Maneuvering new challenges in new situations will always force you to think in different ways. Being in the ocean, flying round a racetrack with the wind in your hair, or mid-air half way up a rock face isn’t conducive of the same thoughts and mental patterns as you’d experience sitting in front of a screen in the office.
The infamous Steve Jobs was a big believer in varying experiences and challenges and saw the benefits that it could bring to a business:
“A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”
Thinking differently, using different parts of your brain isn’t just good for overcoming physical (and mental) obstacles on team-building exercises. If it’s something you can help people to practice, ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking will become more natural and can have a transformational effect on your workspace.
(Would you have to make us surf instructors spend our team-building day out in an office in a high-rise building, with triangular sandwiches and gossip around the water cooler to have the same effect, I wonder?)
Taking all these benefits back into the workplace, you have developed a more productive company culture. Using the momentum of a win will help employees feel good about themselves, nurturing a feeling of confidence within the group dynamic. Their feeling of confidence, as an individual and as part of a team, will be associated with the oh-so generous company that organised the team day for them.
Show appreciation and value
If you are an employee and your boss has made the investment to get everyone included in an exhilarating, fast-paced day out, people are going to feel appreciated and worth splashing a few pennies on. If you’re an employer and are prepared to fork out a bit for something a bit different for your annual corporate day out, everyone is going to feel valued. Appreciated staff are definitely more likely to put in the hours, reinforcing a great work ethic.
I can tell you from experience, work satisfaction and feeling appreciated in the workplace doesn’t get much better than sharing a few beers at the end of a sunny day on the beach. It makes us want to work hard. Looking forward to our annual trip to a Mexican restaurant in Newquay, we don’t mind chatting to customers after-hours, or washing those last few wetsuits everyone else forgot to do.
What boss doesn’t want to boost their company loyalty in their employees? A Forbes article cited that employees are more likely to recommend their company as a good place of work if their employer shows an interest in their mental and/or physical wellbeing. Exercise and wellbeing is a common topic these days, continually in the public eye. Scientists and patiences alike are finding more and more benefits of adrenaline, fresh air, salt water, cold water every week, it seems.
Have a little read of our article on the benefits of cold water swimming if you’re not yet convinced.
The research into it is always expanding. But we’re continually impressed by the growing number of physical, psychological and neurological benefits that are being discovered. We’re even starting to see GPs prescribe surfing and wild swimming to depression, anxiety, insomnia and PTSD patients. In cold water, the demand it has on our focus to breathe is entirely absorbing. So we are distracted from petty workplace conflicts and the notion that most people consider “team building” uncomfortable. Who isn’t impressed when their employer shows they care about their staff’s well being?
No more awkward silences
The words “team” and “building” can inherently instill fear into the eyes of many an employee. We’d like to make forced, dreaded staff-days a thing of the past.
But with these activities we’re offering, no one has to reluctantly put their hand up to be team leader (when really no one wants to listen to what they have to say). You can get all the benefits from a team building day without it feeling anything like work or corporate whatsoever. Introduce a different environment, fresh air, and put everyone on a level playing field. No need to nominate a “team captain”, whilst you’re still getting the singular team to be supportive of each other.
Design a bespoke corporate day your competition will be jealous of
If you’re not based in Cornwall, but want to give our bespoke corporate day out a go, we can help you organise somewhere to stay within your budget, that is in walking distance from the beach, and only 3 minutes drive from the go-kart track. Have a look at our local accommodation page to see our favourite options.
There are also some amazing foodie places down here too. From wood-fired feasts to impressive fruit de mer platters, epic pub grub or relaxed tapas-style plates overlooking the ocean. We love where we live and know the best spots, so you can keep driving to a minimum and enjoy a celebratory pint/cocktail/barbecue at the end of your successful team building day out.
Send us an email for a quote or if you’d like us to help you organise the team building trip of the decade.
Regular price for a private coasteering, surfing and go-karting session: £105pp
Book this corporate package to receive discount of up to £400 for a group of 10,
for as little as £75pp.
Thanks to 1517 Performance consultancy for being such a good crew of guinea-pigs & looking forward to seeing you back in the water again soon!