On Saturday, April 25th, mHelpDesk hosted our first annual Field Day. It was an opportunity for our work family to hang out after hours and get to know each other outside of mHelpDesk headquarters. Over the course of the day, we battled it out in a seven-sport competition, with eight teams ruthlessly competing to crown themselves champions. This year, we hosted it at Lake Fairfax in Virginia, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Good food, family, and competition — what more could you ask for?
When a company grows, team building activities change
When mHelpDesk was a small team of less than ten, we used to do non-work related things all the time. Whether it was catered lunches, parties, or alcohol-fueled karaoke, we became a family and these activities helped to strengthen our bond. This mentality carried over into the workplace and we learned to look out for each other and roll with the punches.
As we started to grow from a team of 10 to 20, the close-knit sessions turned into monthly parties to celebrate birthdays. Logistically, it was the better choice. Different? Yes. But it was still a small enough group to provide generously catered lunches and fancy party cakes.
Next, mHelpDesk expanded from 20 to 40 employees and the complexity grew even further. It was hard to get everyone off the phones at the same time, or plan something that could be attended by all.
It was bound to happen, but after we reached 50+ employees, the things that we did as a small team just got away from us.
With growth, we needed functional teams
It happens with growth, but when you add more bodies to a startup, people begin to internally evaluate their strengths and fill in where their talents are best suited and where their skills are needed. It’s the beginning of functional teams or departments.
This exact thing happened with us. At the beginning, we had cross-functional teams, where product, sales, and customer service, for example, sat side-by-side and interacted daily. With growth, teams formed to excel at their jobs, but there was less (or no) intermingling of the functional groups. It wasn’t uncommon for someone on the sales team to have never had a conversation with someone on customer service.
I didn’t like that at all — so we decided to do something about it.
So… we organized a Field Day.
Bringing back the Field Day
I get nostalgic thinking about my elementary school Field Days — one giant play day mixed within a little competition. With mHelpDesk, I wanted to combine health and team building, so this seemed like the perfect solution.
With the help of Ashley (Customer Success Coach), Karen (Office Manager), and Danielle (Manager of Talent Acquisition), a plan was set in motion.
By design, we formed teams that mixed cross-functional roles. We created teams that intermingled sales, product, and customer service. Our goal was to have everyone leave Field Day having met a new mHelpDesk friend. These new bonds would help our at-work relationships, which in turn, helps us to become more efficient as a team.
Throughout the day the teams duked it out in Tug of War, hopped along in a 3 Legged Race, waddled away in the Balloon Squeeze, and tested their steady hands with the Spoon Race. We also played a little football, frisbee, and cornhole.
The mHelpDesk field day was a hit and people can’t wait until next year’s competition. The excitement over the day made me realize the importance of these types of events. Yes, it becomes increasingly difficult as your team grows, but it’s also necessary to get your work family in harmony. If you are going to build a great company, you need happy people.
Our Field Day was the perfect activity for us to step outside of the office and look at life through a different lens.
Last modified: November 11, 2016