With all the talk of security breaches, cybercrime, and all things scary in the tech world, sometimes it’s nice to just unplug, hit the river, and remember that, while we serve through technology, our mission is still Building Engaged Communities.
And that includes our own enPower communities.
Taking Time to Unplug
Recently, our Leadership Team retreated to the beautiful west side of our state to set goals and map out plans for the year(s) ahead. As usual, we came prepared with piles of sticky notes, our laptops and chargers, a mountain of food, and, of course, our kayaks.
The execution of our mini-Yeti Retreat was a little bit different this year – our meetings were held outside in the fresh air and sunlight, leaving our sticky notes fluttering in the breeze and our laptops mostly unused. Interestingly enough, after determining that fighting the sun’s glare on our laptop screens was a losing battle, we did most of our scheming with our technologies shut down.
And yet, even “unplugged”, we still achieved our goals. We mapped out the next steps for enPower, discussed new toolsets and technologies to investigate, established training and education goals for our team, and chose our next Leadership Team Book Club selection. (In full disclosure, we did use technology to help get this rolling – thank you very much, Amazon, for having our book choice waiting at our doors by the time we made it home!)
But in between planning sessions, we enjoyed some truly disconnected downtime. We grilled out, took some naps, chatted as friends, not just co-workers, and paddled down multiple portions of Michigan’s beautiful Platte River. No technology in sight.
And because we unplugged, we all walked away rejuvenated as a team, ready and excited to tackle our next adventures!
Disconnecting as a Team
Taking time to unplug is important to our entire team and, we feel, integral to building our own internally engaged communities. In a world where we are plugged in 24/7, our phones glued to our hands, our fingers flying over our keyboards, our webcams catching our inadvertent eye-rolls at HR reminding us for the 12,000th time to turn in our expense reports, it’s nice to just disconnect sometimes.
Like with our Leadership Team, we try to get away as a full team and retreat into the “wilderness”. We refer to this as our Yeti Hunting. Of course, because we are a technology company and self-described tech nerds, we stay connected for portions of Yeti. But when we walk away from the planning meetings, we shut down the tech and embrace our Mother-Earth-loving roots, hitting the trails or the river and enjoying some truly unplugged time.
Everyone needs to hit the refresh button sometimes, and in doing so as a team, we establish team goals without even realizing it, improve trust and have the chance to get to know each other better outside of what we bring to the work team.
We work hard, but we play harder. Why? Because, just like your Kindergarten teacher was always saying, it’s during play that we learn the most. And, playing gives your brain the chance to unwind in a way that allows for even greater growth.
Plus, playing is fun. And we like fun.
“Unplugging” in the time of COVID
This year, with the health of our team being a very high priority, Yeti Hunting will once again have to look a little different. But we recognize and value the importance of our Yeti time and what it brings to our team community, so we are working on ways to make it happen in a more virtual format.
The beauty of technology is that it will allow us to continue our Yeti traditions. The downside is that it will have to continue (mostly) plugged in. We will have to rely on our laptops and webcams and phones and are grateful that we have these tools at our disposal. We will strategize, establish goals, and make plans. But, we will still play games, chat informally and continue to build community within our team.
Then we will shut things down. For a time, we will let our brains go quiet and step away from our blinking firewalls, beeping message alerts, and the technologies shouting out to us to update them.
And we will work to build our own engaged communities. We will head out the door, this time with our families, and we will take some time to recharge.
Because even tech nerds need to unplug.