Corporate Groups


Phil Dean, Founder & CEO of We Are Certain, loved his hammock spot so much he made me this sketch

A different environment inspires different perspectives

Getting a team outdoors for a day in the woods, or an overnighter, or on a bond-building expedition can have a huge impact.  Well guided and facilitated, it can greatly benefit a team’s awareness and skills around listening, communication and teamwork.

Away from customs ruts of the office, getting outdoors changes the rules.  Out in nature, people show up as whole people, rather than occupying a particular work role and persona.  This allows extra layers to be added to relationships in a safe and appropriate way.  There’s more permission for team members, whether senior or junior, to turn up in a way that is not always possible in the everyday environment.  Subtle shifts like these can create breakthrough moments to bring back to the workplace.

I could go on, but it’s always better explained by those who had their own experiences, so here are a few.

This is a good one:

“When it was suggested that our team should go down to Sussex to do 'I’m not sure what', I was somewhat sceptical, in fact I thought it would be a bit shit...

However, the ability to discuss issues in an alien and totally non-work environment brought a different dimension to thinking and decision making. I found the exercises geared around listening were powerful and some we now use in at Aspire.

There are so many things buzzing round my head the concept of pushing them out seldom wins. Yet at one point in afternoon when lying on my back at the base of a tree staring up through the branches and the sky above I practically passed out and as a result felt re-energised.

The event also brought the team even closer as a group, a greater understanding of each other both professionally and personally which I am not convinced would happen in an office-based environment.

Therefore an exercise I was sceptical about I can easily reflect on as a positive and very different experience.”

Paul Farrer, Founder, Aspire

Here’s another…

“There was quite a lot of trust as we signed up as we had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for.  It turned out to be an amazing calm space that really let us come together.

Stress evaporated in the woodland environment. People opened up in ways that they don’t in the monthly meetings. And the quality of conversations we were having as a group notably improved by the end of it.

We were only in the wood for a day but it was a fabulous way to get perspective and see things anew.”

Andy Cockburn, Co-Founder, Mention-Me

There are more further below, but we should move on to what it actually looks like.

Three formats

There are three main formats I offer.  In practice any event would be tailored to a team’s specific wants and needs.

1. Taster

6.30pm gathering in a Sussex pub/hotel, 9-4 next day in the woods

Eating, drinking and relaxing
Indoor mod cons
Feels like a normal night

Missed opportunity to experience a night in the woods
Pubs and alcohol lead to talking a lot of bollocks
Pay lots of money for food and accommodation
No fires allowed in bedrooms

This option works fine, but it’s not as immersive.

Choose this if the idea of sleeping out is too far outside your team’s comfort zone (but note that most people tend to find it unexpectedly brilliant, and comfortable, to sleep out in hammocks or bivvy bags).

People who start with this often want to return for an Overnighter.

2. Overnighter in the woods

Noon Day 1 till Noon Day 2

Much more of an experience
You still get delicious food and a comfortable night
Humans talk much less bollocks sat around fires

Ummm… might smell like wood smoke? (kind of a plus actually)
Less of your normal creature comforts (which is the point)
More creatures (which is also actually a plus)
By sacrificing a bit of civilisation, you get a bit of wild in return.

Humans respond magnificently to sleeping out – the stars, the leaves, the birdsong…

We recommend hammocks or bivvy bags, but you can go for a tent if that feels too much of a step (it’s not, we’ll take care of you)

3. Expedition

3 days, 2 nights hiking and wild camping in Dartmoor, Peak District, Snowdonia or Lake District

This is more of a commitment, but shared physical endeavour is the original team-building experience.

In the container of an expedition, there is much time and space for conversations to unfold layer by layer.

Being in the hills and away from our normal comfort zone reveals glimpses of our true nature; when people understand each other better, they tend to work better.

Bonus testimonials...

What to expect?
Activities that take you far away from the day-to-day surface level issues and problem solving that you will be used to – you will explore how to ground yourself, how to slow down and how to think about work and life from a different perspective.

You may well return home with a revelation about what’s really important and how small changes in how you spend your time or how you interpret a particular problem could make a big difference in your life.  Expect to be challenged and escape your comfort zone, within a supportive space of psychological safety.  And bushcraft, of course!

How to prepare?
Start thinking about what’s really important to you. Set aside time to do this in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and without your phone. Take your time to do this and don’t worry if your ideas come slowly at first – the best thinking may well come after your mind has settled down and adjusted from the pace of the working day.”

Harry Hortyn, Co-Founder, Oxford Summer Course

“What a transformative day!

I didn’t know quite what to expect and didn’t come into the day with any set objectives on what I wanted to get from it. But through a series of brilliant activities (which I won’t spoil by describing all of them!)

I left with a sense of personal calm and clarity and having formed much deeper relationships with my colleagues.

Thank you for facilitating what was such a fun, educational and enriching experience!”

EJ Flynn, MD, Supper Club