I attended my very first office retreat ever since I started my full time occupation. For the uninitiated, a retreat is an event where people in your company get out of the work routine by going to some relaxing place and think about the future direction for your company/department/office. My very first retreat involved many of us presenting our ideas and to do list for the year ahead; we were expected to have prepared in advanced.
Nonetheless it was an interesting experience in which I gained some new insights and direction for my colleagues and I. Not to mention, the two tea breaks and catered lunch helped me to gain a little bit of weight. I really loved the eclaires that were provided.
Back to the main point, the out of office routine was a good break from the hustle and bustle of the daily workload. It was nice to talk about the future, and it is an exciting place to be for a young person like me. It must have been for any other young, passionate person. At least, that is what I felt.
A retreat allows you to suggest the way forward for the company. During the retreat, the senior management identifies the key concepts and direction for the company, and usually such concepts cover a wide range of possibilities from work to casual stuff like building a great working culture. I was pleased to note the emphasis that we had on people.
To some people, a retreat may sound like work. Why wouldn’t it be? Even though you are physically present in a relaxing place where you don’t have to bother about food and drink, you are still discussing work after all. However, thinking this way would make things boring and less interesting.
Instead, if one views it as a chance to make a difference, it would appear to be more appealing. I had the opportunity and the power to suggest initiatives and the way forward. I would get comments from senior management about my points and get their approval or advice for refinement. I had a voice to say what I wanted my work environment to be like.
However there was something that I stayed silent about. There is this initiative of mine which I wanted to introduce to my immediate work area first. It is an experiment to initiate a change in culture. I wanted to build a place where people contributed freely and spoke about the things that they are passionate about. I wanted to develop a place where people felt no fear or inhibitions; where they could share and be willing to receive critique. For that, I would need to learn more and plan the way ahead. I would need to start from myself, building the culture slowly while encouraging others to be like me. If it was successful, then perhaps it could be applied to a larger pool of audience. But for now, it would be my little experiment.
I think I might have found the hobby and passion in my workplace. Have you?