On Monday, 30th September, Technically Write IT hosted a team building day to celebrate the company’s achievements to-date and the role that the staff have played in its success through their commitment and hard work. It was also an opportunity for writers who work from home in various parts of the country and abroad to meet face-to-face and take part in team building activities.
Team Building Activities
On the morning of the team building day, the office begins to fill with excited chatter, and accents from all four corners of Ireland can be heard. One of our writers has come all the way from Cadiz in Southern Spain to join us for the day. Now that’s team spirit!
As we file into the conference room, we are each handed a name-tag with our real names as well as a character’s name for the murder mystery we’ll play later. Characters include: Sir Francis Drake, the Elizabethan navigator; Annie Moore, the first immigrant from Cobh to go through Ellis Island; Binny, the mythical giant of Currabinny Woods, and many more.
After formal introductions, we carry out a speed networking exercise. We are given two minutes to discuss a series of random topics such as, ‘How did you choose your current profession – or did it choose you?’ and the topic that causes the biggest laughs, ‘Do you have a nickname – and how did you earn it?’ We won’t embarrass anyone by giving away some of the more questionable monikers, but suffice to say, there are some hilarious stories revealed.
Presentations and Feedback Sessions
After the ice is well and truly broken by the speed networking, Patrice Fanning, our CEO, gives an update on the company history and her vision for the future. She recaps on key milestones that the company has reached to-date and the importance of expanding our client base and growing the team. She also stresses the valuable contribution that each individual on the team has made in the development of the company. In addition, she emphasises the importance of teamwork, as we continue to build on our achievements and move to the next stage of Technically Write IT’s development.
This is followed by an open feedback session where the group is invited to give their personal views and suggestions for the direction of the company. It’s a welcome chance for staff to have a real say in how the company is run.
Walk/Cycle to Crosshaven
Despite some bad weather earlier in the morning, the elements decide to co-operate as the outdoor part of the day begins. One group sets off on foot along the dedicated walkway from Carrigaline to Crosshaven. Meanwhile the second group mounts the bicycles provided by Robbie’s Bike Shop in Carrigaline. One brave pair even opted for a tandem bike! While it isn’t quite the Tour de France, fifteen tech writers negotiating their way down the cycleway is a formidable sight.
Ferry Tour of Cork Harbour
Having reached the Hugh Coveney pier in Crosshaven, we board the ferry and set sail on a tour of Cork harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world. Various landmarks are pointed out such as Spike Island, which most recently functioned as the location for one of our state prisons. Other notable landmarks are Cobh, the last port of call for the doomed Titanic, and Haulbowline, the main base of the Irish Naval Service.
Meanwhile, the murder mystery jolts into action when the death of one of the characters, Mrs O’Connor, is announced. We each receive some further information about our individual characters and proceed to question each other carefully to try to establish both a motive and a villain. Some participants take the news of the murder very seriously, accusing several co-workers of the dastardly deed. Luckily, the provision of hot drinks and biscuits on board has us soon chatting amicably again.
Guided Tour of Fort Camden
Jack Hickey, our bus driver for the day, is waiting back at the pier. He brings us to Fort Camden Meagher, for a guided tour of the facility, which is in the process of being restored. The fort is dramatically situated on a promontory at the entrance to Cork Harbour and is recognised as being one of the finest remaining examples of a classical coastal artillery fort in the world. Our knowledgeable tour guide, Anita, gives us a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the men and women who lived and worked there. We even get to visit the magazine where the artillery and munitions were once stored. It is probably just as well that the weapons have long gone, as there is a murderer lurking among us!
Tired and hungry, we arrive at the celebrated Cronin’s bar and restaurant in Crosshaven village square. Many of us opt for hot whiskeys to warm up while we wait for dinner to be served – and to wash down the delicious starters.
While waiting for the mains, Joleen Cronin, who was the official photographer and one of the organisers of the day, announces that only one person has correctly guessed the ‘murderer’. We all look at each other, wondering who could possibly be the Sherlock Holmes amongst us. But we’re swiftly distracted by the arrival of fish pies and hearty Irish stews.
Patrice hands out several awards during the meal; the Best Acting Performance prize is won by Tomás McCarthy and the Dying Victim prize is won by Ann Devine. And the ultimate victor? It’s Gabriela O’Mahony, who has guessed correctly that the victim’s husband was the villain of the day.
For those who don’t want the day to end just yet, we have ‘one for the road’, where discussions about the positioning of commas and quotation marks ensue. Such conversations are one of the pitfalls of working with 24 technical writers! Finally, we take our leave, hoping that all team building days at Technically Write IT will be as enjoyable as this one.