Team Building Day At London Vision Clinic

Colourful Costumes, Cryptic Clues And Creepy Cupcakes Make For Successful Team Building…

When you add together a list of weird happenings which includes creepy spiders crawling out of cupcakes; a team of highly skilled professional people dashing across Trafalgar Square dressed as super heroes and a video of an optometrist/cave woman dancing an Irish jig in the West End; what have you got? Unless you work at 138 Harley Street, it is unlikely that you would ever guess the answer. In fact all these tasks – and many more pretty strange occurrences – formed a part of an innovative team building event at the London Vision Clinic.

This special team building event was the third to be organised by clinic administrators Hetal Pandya and Majean Griffiths and it took almost a year of top secrecy, inspiration and detailed research to hone and perfect before the big day. The idea behind team building is to mix things up a bit: all staff members (including Dr Dan and Glenn Carp)  are first issued with a random number, these are then mixed together and – lottery style – selected to form teams of five or six people each.

“Due to the structure and nature of our work in Laser Eye Surgery, days might go by without – for instance – the nurses who work in the basement area ever meeting up with those of us in the administration space upstairs”, said Hetal who has worked at the London Vision Clinic for just over three years.

“Although we all get together for our staff meetings on the first Friday of each month, our annual team building day takes bonding to a whole new level.”

On your marks, get set, Go!

The fun – and competitiveness – begins as soon as the teams are known.The first decision to be taken is to choose a team name – bearing in mind that a costume theme is also expected. This year’s contestant costumes consisted of: The Crayons, A Generation Inspired, Cave People, The Super-heroes and two rather different family teams also took part: The Royal Family and The Adams Family.

With his slim build and six-foot-plus height, laser technician and researcher Zach chose to dress as Spiderman, his comic book hero. “The costume – which incidentally is meant to be pretty tight fitting – was specially made for me in China”, he explained.

Hetal and Majean borrowed some themes from popular television shows when they came up with “The Great London Vision Clinic Bake-Off” and “The London Vision Clinic’s Got Talent” sections of the event.

Due to time constraints the baking tasks had to be carried out beforehand and in one team member’s kitchen. Among the finished cakes presented to the judges were the spider cupcakes and two highly detailed cakes shaped and iced like a human brain. “The standard was unbelievably high”, said judge Hetal.

After judging the cakes, the teams headed off into central London on their treasure hunt. This year it was centred on locations in and around Trafalgar Square, Big Ben and The London Eye and involved following cryptic clues and producing video and/or photographic evidence of each achievement.

Even in a city which has seen everything, walking around London or using public transport dressed as Captain America, a cave man, or wearing a crayon costume caused quite a stir.

“People would ask the teams what they were doing – lots of people wanted to have their pictures taken with a super hero. Some assumed that they were part of a stag or hen party and when they were told that it was a team building exercise for the London Vision Clinic, many were really surprised”, said Hetal.

Team members were also expected to show off a hidden talent – optometrist Connie, who is originally from Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland, had not forgotten the steps to an Irish jig which caused quite a stir as she was dressed as a cave woman at the time. Unsurprisingly, Dr Dan (A Generation Inspired) was able to pull in the crowds with his sax playing. Other talents included head patient care coordinator, Manmeet’s Indian dancing while optometrist Emma Brandon showed her flexibility by doing the split.

Armed with photographic evidence of riddles cracked and hidden talents exposed, everybody met up at a secret location to share stories of a memorable day and await the judges’ decisions. First prize was awarded to the sports people of “A Generation Inspired” – this team included research manager Tim who holds the record of being on the winning team for three years running. “The Cave People” came second and “The Crayons” took third place. Prizes have yet to be decided but all runners up will receive a personalised souvenir mug to remind them of their team building experience.