Outdoor activity centre launches company workshops held in canoes, not conference rooms

Employers who need to reset their business after months of remote working or furloughing can now offer their staff a team building workshop that’s more white water than whiteboard.

‘Back to Business’ is the brainchild of one of Britain’s leading outdoor activity centres, New Forest Activities in Hampshire.

Designed specifically for SMEs with under 50 staff, the bespoke workshops are held in private woodland in the heart of the New Forest National Park. Tailored to each company, they include sessions on business strategy, goal setting and rebuilding trust between team members who may not have met for months.

But they’re more than just a brainstorm with a breath of fresh air thrown in. The centre’s trained coaches are on hand to integrate a host of fun activities into proceedings, including canoeing and kayaking on the idyllic Beaulieu River.

Nestled under a woodland canopy rather than an airless conference room, sessions can also include confidence-building activities on rope swings as well an introduction to bushcraft survival skills.

Whatever activity the group chooses, the aim is the same – to help teams forced apart by lockdown to regroup, refresh and refocus on the business’s priorities.

New Forest Activities’ business coaches use a technique called the ‘Five steps to clarity’, that helps participants identify the mindset they need to succeed, including the what, why, who and how they will do it.

Sam Sutton, Director and Founder of New Forest Activities, says: “Every strong business has a strong team at its core. Our Back to Business sessions have been designed to do two things at once; they help teams bond and build, and help businesses identify what success should look like, and how to get there.

“Businesses across Britain have been left shell-shocked by the pandemic and the stress of adapting to the ‘new normal’. No-one should underestimate how hard it is for business leaders to recalibrate their company goals, or for staff to readjust after months spent working apart or on furlough.

“That’s why we created ‘Back to Business’ – bespoke sessions in our pristine woodland where teams can get away from their business to focus on what really matters for the business as a whole. By giving people the headspace to think clearly – and the chance to have great fun while doing it – our aim is to send them back to work more focused, more productive and more motivated.”