Team work makes the dream work

by | Jul 2, 2019

I like working at a small company for a couple of reasons:

  • I’m a generalist, not a specialist, so small organisations suit my skill set better, which means I’m usually never bored.
  • You know your colleagues better.  You know the name of their spouse, their kids, their dog, you know how they usually spend their weekends, what their holiday plans are.  You feel like you have a work whānau.

As OptimalBI is a consultancy, my work whānau are often scattered at our customer sites, rather than in the office.  Add in a couple of team members who aren’t based in Wellington (I’m in Christchurch, and Barry is in Auckland) it can be challenging to come up with ways to keep everyone engaged to build and maintain that community spirit.

Tips for your next challenge:

I can recommend monthly challenges as a way to engage your team in a bit of friendly banter.  Here’s some tips we’ve found work well for us:

  • Don’t force participation, and consider the ability of your team.  Make it challenging yet achievable.
  • Use positive language and encouragement.
  • Create variety in the challenges; try exercise challenges (steps, more than X mins exercised each day, team and individual), give something up challenges (alcohol, sugar, sleeping in…), try something new challenges, national challenges (like the cycle challenge), etc.
  • Create an incentive/reward for participating/doing well, and a small punishment as encouragement to participate (i.e. a donation to a charity, home baking provided by the losing team).
  • Have a way of administering the challenge.  Create a Google Sheet to track progress, and chat groups to provide motivation within both the team and company.

Our most recent challenge:

During June, we decided that a team based step challenge would be a good way to encourage some movement in a month that holds the shortest day of the year.  As someone who resembles a bear and hibernates in winter, it certainly helped with my motivation, and I’m sure it helped with others as well.
We divided up in to 3 ‘even’ teams, set down the ground rules, and the banter started on the way to seeing which team could do the most steps in a calendar month.  Nic was the administrator, which saw the introduction of a rest week (you pre-select a week where your steps do not count towards the team total), a captains week (pre-selected week where your steps count 1.5x towards the team total) and a final blitz weekend (where your competitiveness comes out and you try to do as many steps as possible to beat the other teams before the end of the month).
You can see that things get pretty serious on occasions with our challenges; and the above isn’t even half of the compliance conditions!
Anyway, a huge congratulations to Team 3 for completing 1,922,339 steps in the month of June.

A photo story of our step challenge

Nick enjoyed the cold, foggy sunrises in Martinborough.

Alison’s favourite June view in Seatoun.

Rocket got a lot of walks in June.

Nic and his Mum celebrate his 9th place finish in the Wellington marathon

Bronnie and Milo made it to the top of the Rapaki track.

Victoria took in the views from Mt Crawford on the Mapuia walkway.

Kate enjoyed the views on the scenic yet steep walk via Lyall and Houghton Bays.

What’s next?

Dry July is with us at the moment, and is something we’ve participated in before.  This time, those wanting to simply choose something that they will give up for the month of July.  For some it’s alcohol, others gluten, some are choosing to not sleep in, others giving up coke or sugar.  For each day we slip up (come on, everyone’s human) it’s $1 to Woman’s Refuge, which OptimalBI will match.
Does your team do challenges like this?  Or do you want to give them a go?  I hope this helps you figure out a way to introduce it to your workplace, I really do like it.  Reach out to me if you’d like to know more.
Herding all the nerds,

Bronnie is a woman of many talents; you’ll find her managing contracts, people and our marketing, she also flies planes and manages events.  Connect with Bronnie on LinkedIn.

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