Here’s why we took a day off to build rafts and paddle across a reservoir

Team building is trust building. Trust directly affects speed and cost in business. When trust goes up, speed goes up and costs go down. It takes a lot of trust and teamwork to row across a reservoir on a raft you built together.

From remote working to raft building

Change8 is a team of remote workers spread out across the UK and Sri Lanka. We see each other every day online and fortnightly the whole team unites for an ‘all hands’ catch up. We’ve got to know each other pretty well over the last year and it was about time we met in person. And ok, we didn’t all go. Our customers are our priority always, and it’s a long way from Colombo to Combs just for an afternoon. We’d love to get the whole team together one day, and in the meantime a few from the UK powered into the Peak District for a day of paddling.

Combs reservoir sits in the High Peak. It was overcast but warm when our team met the guys from Lost Earth Adventures. They’d brought wetsuits, life jackets, helmets, wooden poles, barrels, ropes and a lot of know-how. We’d brought ourselves, some old trainers and a lot of enthusiasm.

The build: wooden poles, barrels and lots of rope

We got a crash course on knot-tying and a run through safety awareness before we split into two teams. Marketing, Finance and Technical aka Sophie, Lloyd, Lisa and Rohana vs Digital Marketing, Business Development and the MD, aka Brad, Chris and Holly. At four to three it was an unequal split, but Team Brad brought fighting spirit. It takes at least two to lift the poles, tie the ropes and a whole team to build a raft.

“It was on my bucket list to build a raft, and it was great to go outdoors with team and get to know each other better.” Holly Rascagneres, Managing Director

The yo heave ho

Both teams pushed out their rafts, climbed on their barrels and stayed afloat.

Team Brad on the lighter craft were off to a lightening start, pulling into the lead at the incredible rate of about one knot, or one nautical mile per hour. Team Soph set off rowing mightily in all directions but still managed to close the gap by the time they reached the opposite bank.

Lloyd and Rohana gave the raft a running push from the side and then fell in. Serious core strength on show as Rohana pulled himself back onto raft. Team Brad ‘s three-person weight advantage was no match for the strength of four people in Team Soph who pulled ahead to the finish.

“It’s brilliant that both rafts held up and both teams got across the reservoir and back. ” Jonty Abbott, Change8 Director

Five things we learned

  • We like puns. It was an oarsome day, a rowed map for success, a raft of great ideas, and a barrel of laughs.
  • Culture really does come from the top. MD Holly was the first to start carrying stuff and the last to finish clearing up.
  • We’re agile. Digital marketing apprentice Brad took on a leadership role and Change8 founder and director Jonty did a great job snapping pics for socials.
  • We’re good at listening, learning, understanding requirements and achieving common goals. It’s what we do.
  • There’s more than one right way to build a raft.

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