Towards the end of 2021, we slowly started forcing ourself to believe that we are recovering from the pandemic era. In just 18 months, we learned many new skills, many new standards of living, many new ways to keep safe and healthy. Children as well as adult got glued to gadgets and all our lives were electronically controlled. Work from home came into existence and so employees started working more than normal working hours and employers calculated savings from operating costs and improved staff productivity. Employees working with co-partners from various time zones got disoriented without knowing day begin and end, while completing the work assignments from their virtual pandemic office.
When COVID-19 abruptly upended our lives last year, it separated us, almost completely, from the all kinds of events that usually root our social as well as professional lives. We were living in a very strict border which is confined to our immediate family and to the virtual world which doesn’t have borders.
On Dec 2021, I discussed with my team that as now we are coming to back to our normal lives, why don’t we think of a staff outing, a real outing to appreciate the team which all of us well deserved. I received mixed reactions from all, but I thought strongly that a team building activity is badly needed to bring back the lost energy and enthusiasm.
When the management announced that the annual staff outing is going to be a desert Safari, for most of us that announcement was hard to believe; we all had an apprehension thinking there would be a disappointing number of participations from the team.
Two weeks ahead of the event, Huda-our HR Manager posted a notification in our various department WhatsApp groups. Our Marketing Manager- Prasad created a colourful poster, which was also circulated among all the WhatsApp groups.
Our staff strength includes individuals from more than 10 nationalities. The Amer (GDRFA-Immigration Dubai) centre, which is licensed under Gulf Vision Government Transaction is the first ever Amer branch started in Dubai, in the year 2016. Most of the customer service agents in our Amer are working mothers. All of them have elderly parents and children at their home. At duty breaks, most of them will make video call and talk to their children. The tech savvy mothers will monitor the house and surroundings using the surveillance cameras installed in their homes. So Amer team members expressed a negative response towards the outing notice.
Hessa-Private Notary approved by Dubai Courts, showed a very positive response and excitement. For Dubai court this is not the first time the team is planning for an outing. Few months back they organised a monthly meeting in a coffees shop at a luxury hotel. Mohammed Yammahi-Senior Notary at the Dubai Court section also agreed to join, but he said he will come to the desert directly. He is a passionate auto lover and so he would love to drive to the desert. He said he wanted to revitalise his desert driving skills in the beautiful red sand dunes. I informed Yasser also to join, but he said a weekend is 100% family day, so as a special case I agreed him to join with this entire family so he can have a 100% family desert safari outing!
The members of Dubai Economic Department remained quiet upon seeing the outing information, but still we all kept on encouraging every DED member to join. Dubai Civil Defence team is a small team, I personally met Ahmed, Hajar and Yahiya and cheered all three to join the event. All the members of typing section of both Gulf Vision and Emirates Gulf expressed their full support to join the event. Our RT-PCR section is 24/7 operational, hence we could not expect much participation from them.
While the days of the event got closer, we all persistently inspired each and every one whenever we meet them to give their names to Huda. We had to give a final list of all members to the tour operator to make their necessary arrangements. The tour operator have to arrange sufficient Toyota land cruiser SUVs for the safari trip. The the list kept on changing as number of participants increased every day, which made the tour operator very uncomfortable.
Finally the Saturday, 12th February arrived. We all decided to meet at main entrance of Al Nahda Centre at 2:00PM. 14 Toyota land cruiser SUVs turned up and took 89 of us, including junior Huda and junior Hessa. The team entirely enjoyed the entire desert activities which are usually included in the Dubai desert safari event
Workplace outings are always good to improve the bonding among the team. Creating these bonds within the team is very beneficial for business operations and communication. People seem to get connected in a different light when they are out of the work environment. Team building activities help to improve comfort and communication within the members and get everyone on the same page while working together. A team doesn’t have to confine to Amer, DED, Dubai Court, Typing or PCR testing team. A team is a unified collection of all the working resources that makeup towards a common goal of success. Team building activities gave employees something common to talk about other than their routine work.
Al Nahda Centre team who participated in this event definitely enjoyed a very pleasant evening. This event created a successful team bonding and also to acquaint with all from the various sections.
We all have gone though a difficult time during the pandemic. I consider this outing as a reward to each of my team, including myself, and to move forward with more positive thoughts, for personal growth as well as a team growth.
I look forward for more participation in the next event.
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