Thursday, January 10, 2008

Retreat was a treat!

This week is flying by... I have been bombarded with meetings, meetings, and more meetings. Sometimes you have to wonder how any work can get done when you spend the majority of your day in meetings.

Yesterday, my colleagues and I were shuttled off site to an all day retreat. Now... when I think of the word retreat - I think of hot stone massages, facials, pedicures - but in the case of the workplace - a retreat is more so of a day away from the office, and as uninterrupted as possible from the day to day distractions.

I have had the pleasure of attending a few 'retreat' days in my government career. This was my first at my current job. I have to say, having a small group of employees really makes a big difference when doing a so-called 'retreat'. My directorate is made up of only 62 people so knowing everyone is actually very easy and in the case of group discussions - a small group of people works rather well compared to a massive group.

The morning part of the day was filled with the expected upper management address to the group. Talking about where we've been as a directorate, and where we want to be in the future.

The afternoon, was where we got down to business, discussing an employee survey that show some unfavourable results in a few key areas. The entire afternoon was spent discussing the areas of improvement necessary for the directorate to move forward and grow, and it included some open and frank discussions about suggestions on how to improve our workplace.

I am not sure if everything will be solved from an half day of open discussion - but what I can say, is 'WOW - does it ever feel good to get that off my chest'.

In one afternoon, I was able to get out what has been bugging me about my job for the last few months. Instead of grumbling to myself and a few colleagues from time to time, I was actually able to put some real suggestions on the table and feel as though, at the very least, I had been heard.

Although there were no pedicures and massages during the retreat - I feel as though the day was spent rejuvenating my spirits in the workplace - and that in itself was treat. The entire day has done wonders from my day to day work - I actually returned to my regular workload today, feeling as though I might actually accomplish something and feel good about it for once!

Does your workplace ever offer the opportunity to speak up and offer suggestions from change?