Those who sweat* together, stay together (*or drink, play, ski, laugh, party, swim…)

by Jennifer Duarte

October 2022

A fitness-sparked thought

One recent initiative in our team was to get together for some fitness around midday, every two weeks, financed by the company.

Fitness training at D-Factory

Ok, we all agree: every two weeks is not enough to give us the six pack we always dreamed of, and won't even knock out all the calories from the raclettes and fondues of the coming season. However, including sport in our office routine is a great initiative to push us to be more active and a nice way for a company to share that the employees wellbeing and health matters. Besides that, this is as well an opportunity for us to spend even more time together, in a different context than meetings or work.

For me, this is (together with the out-of-reach six pack goal) the greatest reason why I go to do sport with my team-mates. The time I spend with my colleagues outside of working hours or during team-events is always a great opportunity that strengthens relationships and creates a bond that, without a doubt, also benefits within the working time.

The importance of team time

This made me think about how team-events can improve work satisfaction and engagement. Is this only my opinion? So, I decided to do a quick research and I found these interesting statistics (among many others):

According to employee engagement facts, “89% of employers think employees who quit for another position are doing so because of a larger paycheck. In truth, just 12% of workers leave for more money. Office life, enjoying work, and corporate culture all play a bigger part in this choice-making process.”

In other words, most people would rather stay in a company providing a good work environment and fulfilling activity than search for a new, and perhaps better paid, job.

A Gallup study also shows that “staff who feel engaged at work are 17% more productive than their peers. Engaged employees are definitely good for business, as their personal gain is not their only driver. Higher work engagement improves focus and motivation, which in turn increases productivity.”

Of course, when a company organises a ski-day or any other team event, it costs money (or time, which is about the same as money… Or both!). But these costs are in some way “re-invested” in increased productivity and employees motivation. Engaged employees have, as well, higher wellbeing, better retention, lower absenteeism and higher productivity. In other words, even if these gains are not directly translated into numbers on the company's balance sheet, the employees' well-being is one of the most important KPI of a company and should therefore never be ignored.

The smartive way of team time

I realised how privileged we are at smartive to work at a company that puts people at the heart of everything and values its employees' wellbeing more than revenue.

It's not just that training. The list of events within and outside our working hours is quite long (and by the way, while expected to not miss everything, no one is obligated to take part in all of them):

  • All-Hands: a monthly event in which we discuss the status of the current projects, our resources, company finances, and so on… (time offered)
  • Smartalks: a recurring event (usually once per month) where a member of the team presents and explains a topic of their area of expertise to the rest of the team. (time offered)
  • Get together: a monthly one-on-one meeting between 2 smartive employees — a buddy (a discussion partner for everything that cannot be discussed in a larger group) and their peer. (time offered)
  • Retro: a biannual half-day meeting or workshop in which we look at what went good, what didn't and all the other stuff that comes up in regard to the last months. (time offered)
  • Smarties&Beer: a team event to get together around some drinks along with a team activity, happening every month (drinks/snacks/activities offered)
  • Brown bag sessions: Similar to the Smartalks but over lunchtime, once per week. (content offered)
  • Code retreat: a yearly team building encounter of two whole days, somewhere outside Zürich, to reflect, meditate, and work on our soft (and hard) skills (everything offered)
  • Ski day: the annual ski/ sledding/ snow hiking event with an all-inclusive stay in the mountains. (tickets, food, stay included)
  • Christmas Dinner: the annual company event with respective partners mixing good food and great party, that ends very late in the evening, but often very late in the next morning! (dinner & overnight for employees+partners)
  • Smartive Sommerfest: an annual party mixing smartive-team, family, friends and clients.
  • Culture building Workshop: Whole team workshops where we look into things like how to better give and receive feedback. (time offered)

Smarties & Beer - Schaffhausen Bööteln 2022

Connect the collective

A company is, before all, a collective. A group of very different people, with different skills, roles and personalities. Way beyond filling a job position because of its skills, everyone fills a place in the team with their soft-skills and personality too.

We spend more of our waking hours at work than at home, and it's only natural that we want to build connections with our team members. Spending time together makes us know each other better and creates social connections which, on the other hand, reinforces considerably the way we collaborate together. Without those connections, we may like what we do, we may get to use our talents and strengths every day, but we're probably not feeling fully energized or motivated to put our whole selves into our roles.

Sources: Gallup, Saratoga Institute

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