Since our last Engage Web team building day, two years have passed and our team has almost doubled in size. Days away from the office like this are often how we really get to know our team, and with three members on their first team building day with the company, it was an outing to look forward to.
We knew little about what to expect from the day other than that it was in Wales, but even that turned out to be a red herring, as Carden Park is actually just on the English side of the border in rural South Cheshire. The journey involved plenty of being told what we were not doing, as we spotted signs for Cheshire Farm Ice Cream, the Tattenhall Candle Factory and, as we arrived at Carden Park itself, its luxury spa.
The morning part of our day was to be indoors and the afternoon outdoors, which looked likely to be an unfortunate choice as an ominous grey cloud approached the swanky Carden Park estate. We spent a sunny morning indoors as we went through the yearly company update, interspersed with a few activities.
A new twist this year was that team members other than Lianne set some of the activities, meaning Alan’s icebreaker started us off with a leisurely bit of colouring-in as we each designed a personal crest, and I introduced a piece of Taskmaster-style madness that involved people trying to juggle with one hand, play tiddlywinks with their eyes shut and read a poem without talking. The idea was to show how to delegate tasks and overcome barriers by working as a team, while having a giggle at the same time.
Two more activities set by Lianne were a Charades-esque “mime the word” game (some of them turned out to be more than one word, which caused some consternation among the more quarrelsome members of our team) and a brainstorming sticky note fest as we gave ideas on what we would like to see start, stop and continue in the workplace.
After lunch, we headed out into the rain (which luckily didn’t last long) for the afternoon part of the day. I won’t give away the specifics of Carden Park’s Fort Boyard challenge, but suffice to say it was a mixture of mental strain and physical exertion that left me deeply regretting my decision to drink coffee instead of water for most of the day. In Greek mythology, king of the underworld Hades condemned Sisyphus to an eternity of pushing a heavy rock up a hill only for it to roll back down again every time he neared the top. Playing the logic game Discus made me think he got off lightly – we must only have been doing this for 30 minutes, but it felt more like 30 hours, and I think we could all still be there now and be no closer to completing it!
My team of Lianne, Penny and Emily came a respectable second, while Darren, Alan and Jonathon took a rather excessive amount of satisfaction in being declared the supposed “winners”. More important than the result was the overdue opportunity to work as a team outside of the office and show our newer members that they are part of a multi-talented and hardworking unit, with a touch of a competitive streak as well!