Imbull's Surprise Company Outing in the Ardennes

by Joanna Jaoudie
(The Netherlands)



Kayaking Wining and Dining Exploring and Drinking in an Epic Cave Mountain Biking

I had my very first company outing this past weekend and was really happy as to how closely it brought everyone together. The element of surprise was a huge factor in my opinion because no one really knew what to expect.

Everything from the location to the activities that were planned out for the weekend were kept a secret until the evening before we were scheduled to meet. To grow suspense and make things manageable for the rest of us, the only thing that was revealed was a packing list that we were expected to adhere to in order to make the weekend as comfortable as possible.

We were asked to pack everything from party wear to sports wear that we didn't mind getting quite dirty. Basically, anything was possible and we were even given a map highlighting 15 different potential locations we could end up in!

The question that was going through a lot of people's mind at the time was: "How is management going to make sure that we get through this weekend successfully and without complaints if they aren't going to reveal any details?". Pleasing everyone is a difficult feat. The answer, turns out, is rather simple: vary it up.

Variety is really important in a company like the one in which I work because although we all intersect when it comes to building a global brand together at work, we're quite an international company and an interesting mix of 16 nationalities that came together in a relatively short period of time!

In a company outing, you're going to want to facilitate team building in a way that pleases people who love adventure as well as those who enjoy having a relaxed night in. If you really want to spice things up, adding an activity absolutely no one would expect (like having a borrel in a cave = true story!) completes the trifecta of awesomeness. I think that Imbull captured it perfectly.

So we set off from Amsterdam to the beautiful Ardennes already wearing our sports clothes as instructed. We had approximately 4 hours to kill on the bus, plenty enough time to introduce a nifty team-building game that we were going to put to good for the rest of the weekend.

Envelopes were distributed to everyone. Each envelope had the name of a person and a keyword intended for that person. The objective of the game was to get the person who's name was written in the envelope to say their keyword to you without it being obvious that you're fishing for it.

If you successfully get your person to say their word, they have to give you their envelope (with another name and keyword. Whoever gathers the most envelopes by the end of the trip wins the game. It's a great idea and a good way to get to know your colleagues better.

When it came down to the main outdoor activities of the weekend, we got to:
- Mountain bike and explore the region's beautiful nature
- Dress up to wine and dine in a fancy restaurant
- Go kayaking/canoeing in pairs. The goal here was to get one international to pair up with someone from the Dutch team to make up for our work in the office being a bit more divided.
- Explore one of the coolest caves in Europe with a surprise ending: having a champagne borrel set up for us in the cave!

Our indoor activities included:
- Comfortable accommodation with the liberty to mix and mingle freely in a massive lodging house
- Enough living room space for a variety of in-house activities, games and partying to go on at the same time
- A private pool, jacuzzi and sauna for ultimate relaxation

Overall, the list above was a fun and successful mix you can't go wrong with especially if you're part of a young company. By the end of the weekend, you'll get people who don't usually come together in the workplace rolling on the floor laughing together.

That's what team-building's all about!

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