We all know the phrase ‘work hard, play hard’ don’t we? Well, last week we did just that and enjoyed some well-deserved playtime. But rather than our usual active boisterousness like go-karting and pub-crawling, we slowed it down (a little) and put ‘mind and body wellness’ at the top of the list. So, with a cosy country house retreat as our playground, we enjoyed a rather self-indulgent Sunday together as a team.
After a quick welcome from Cathi (who thanked us for giving up our Sunday lunches!), we kick-started the day with an introduction session to Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) – an approach to improving communication, managing behaviours and a set of techniques used for personal development and self-management. In a time where we typically spend more time awake with our colleagues than we do with loved ones, we think it’s damn important to make sure that we understand each other’s preferences and motivations. It’s this level of understanding that makes our environment at work one that is enjoyable and brings out the best in each and every one of us – what our goals are, what makes us tick, what makes us tock…
Arguably one of our most popular company values is ‘got your back’. It’s exactly that, we look out for each other in the same way older sibling’s do. With an ambitious year ahead, and what is already proving to be a busy start to the year, we put a lot of energy into exploring and perfecting meditation techniques to focus our minds on what we want to get out of 2017 and to keep our stress cues at bay.
It’s not a Para-Sols Away Day without some friendly competition amongst the team and a bit of physical activity to get the blood pumping so surrounded by the Durham Dales, we headed out for a ramble. When in Rome and all that. The girls also had the chance to prove their flexibility (or lack of in some cases, mentioning no names) with a Yoga masterclass and the boys rallied their testosterone on a tennis court and tested their strength with some resistance bands. When we all felt positively ‘pumped’, an outdoor bubbling hot-tub and raging sauna was on-hand to help us unwind and gave solace to our weary muscles.
People often liken the team to that of a family and that was no more evident than at the end of the day – all huddled around the one big table for dinner, sporting full stomachs, poking fun at each other and can-you-pass-the-salt style conversation.
“To see the team together, interacting with each other with such ease really is a humbling sight to see. When I first started Para-Sols, I never set out with the intention of running a company of this size so admittedly, the people management side of running a business used to scare the hell out of me. I realised very quickly that I was overthinking it. Yes I’d never been a manager before but I had been managed and actually, it is no more than making sure my team feel appreciated. It’s only when I engage their hearts and their minds that I can expect to see their discretionary effort which for me, is absolutely crucial to the way we service our clients” Cathi Harrison, Director.
Our Away Day’s are always well received (who doesn’t love a Sunday afternoon in the spa?!) but lasting change is never achieved in just one day. It’s habitual and doing something time and time again. And although we’d love to spend every afternoon in the great outdoors or sipping something fizzy poolside, it’s not realistic. So we were careful to take away an important message with us – that each of us are personally responsible for our physical and mental wellbeing. As a company though we need to match those responsibilities and make sure we create an environment which walks the talk. That’s why we always have a brimming fruit bowl, 2-minute meditations and a code word which gets us up out of our seats to get the blood flowing back to our legs. Oh, and wine chilling in the fridge.
P.S Incase you were wondering, the code word is ‘apricots’. Drop it into conversation during your next interaction with the team – you’ll be doing your bit at keeping them healthy!