Treetop team building retreat


There’s nothing like a couple of away days to improve morale and working relationships in a team.  A couple of weeks ago, the web development team took a couple of days to explore “The Way We Work” – and to spend some time getting to know each other better.

Pre-Extreeme Adventure
Pre-Ex”tree”me Adventure – EMBL-EBI Web Team

We went to King’s Lynn in Norfolk to experience an Extreeme Adventure.  This was a set of obstacles suspended between platforms in the tree tops.

Extreeme Adventure - learning to use a harness
Extreeme Adventure – learning to use a harness

An interesting aspect of the experience was learning how to use your own chest and seat harness, ropes and pulleys.  You were responsible for your own harness throughout – so if you didn’t fix it on to the obstacle safety line correctly, you were the one who would suffer if things went wrong!

Zip wire
45 ft Zip Wire

The zip wires were the scariest for me, because you had to step off the platform into nothingness hoping your harness would hold you; whereas between the other platforms each obstacle had somewhere for you to put your feet on to.

When we got back to the hotel, we were in high spirits and ready to get started on more team-building activities: including personality tests (MBTI), learning new games, giving a show-and-tell presentation “about us” (including background, hobbies, interests and experience of EBI).  Day 2 included practising juggling, as well as brainstorming activities to get our concerns and ideas out in the open.  Once we had put an action list together at the end of the day, it was time to go home.

Sketchnote to sum up our retreat
Sketchnote to sum up our retreat


Since coming back to the EBI, energy, morale and rapport amongst the team has been taken to a new level.  We are following up on many aspects that we discussed whilst away, including ‘meta’ topics, such as our personality typing and ways of working (rather than specific project work).  I’d recommend a retreat any day to freshen up the atmosphere in a team, and to improve trust and camaraderie.  I look forward to our next one!



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