What turns a group of people working together into a great team?
Discussions during lunch at Proxyclick usually tend to circle around two topics: Technology – no surprise here :-) and hospitality.
And gradually, as my first weeks in the team passed by, I’ve started to realize that a culture of hospitality is not unique to the hospitality industry alone.
In fact, it can be part of any office culture and used to foster exceptional teamwork.
I saw it during the hiring process when the managers Gregory and Geoffroy asked me to join them for “a meeting to get to know each other”. I saw it when Sophie from support invited me to play one round of darts on the upper floor after lunch and we came back to work with a big smile and a bunch of new ideas.
And I see it in our open seat policy, where staff choose to where to sit; quiet area, open space, desk, sofa – wherever they feel comfortable and productive at work!
Ivan's favorite way to do software developments: standing on his skateboard
Hospitality means creating an environment where people feel truly welcome and are invited to be themselves, just like at home. But good hospitality shouldn’t be applied to visitors only, the same principles can be used to forge stronger teams, inspire ideas and enhance work productivity.
Read on to learn how we use hospitality in our office and show how you can use it to inspire exceptional teamwork in your organisation!
How can you apply good hospitality to your teams?
Two weeks ago, the very people who welcomed me with open arms gave me the opportunity to host them for a change. I offered to run a workshop on hospitality.
Our leading question during the workshop
In this workshop I asked the group to put together a list of 6 ‘hospitality’ key ingredients for successful teamwork.
And here’s what we came up with:
1. Quality Experiences
Ivan pointed out that when you are a guest, you truly appreciate the thought of the effort your hosts put in to creating a unique experience. This also works in teams. Think about your next team activity, how are you going to make it memorable and exciting? After-work drinks as usual our something different like a team treasure hunt?
Care for the well-being of the team. We’re doing this by deciding this year is going to be a healthy one at Proxyclick. Since the beginning of January, we have a fresh fruit basket delivered to the office once a week - bananas anyone?!
Monday fruit delivery in our office
An honest “thank you” is one of the most appreciated gestures in the world. Remember to use it, it’s two seconds of rocking hospitality, if you ask us!
4. Feeling comfortable
The New World of Work (NWOW) is all about saying goodbye to inflexible working hours and strict rules that serve no one in the office. Consider how you can apply the principles and make you and your colleagues feel comfortable and at ease in the office. For example, our open seat policy as described earlier.
5. Feeling Welcome
Make your newbies feel truly welcome. I will never forget the happy face of Remi, our new team member from our US office, when we picked him up from the airport with a welcome sign with his name (happened to be an iPad with our new kiosk App Welcome screen ;-)).
Welcome to the team Remi!
6. Unexpected attention for details
Pay attention to details your team members don’t expect you to remember. Take them by surprise and order their favorite post-its when you make the next company order, or their favorite cake or pizza and order it for their birthday. Remembering the little details will make them feel special.
7. Showing initiative and being proactive
Although many items on this list are obvious, it takes some persistence during busy office times to apply those ideas on a daily basis. To get the full benefit you really need to introduce a complete culture of hospitality within your office.
At the end of the workshop we decided we wanted to do exactly that and continue to make Proxyclick a hospitable place to work. We decided individually on small, bold actions we wanted to do the week after to ‘host others’ or ‘host ourselves’ and displayed them on a board.
Small, bold actions to host each other within the team
The result was truly beautiful. Not only did we feel more productive. But in the weeks that followed as actions were checked off, thank-you notes are written and new actions are added.
Our ‘living poster’ became a symbol for the enhanced team spirit we witness and take part in building every day – with one single, bold action!
I recommend to try it out sometime!
At the end it is all about hospitality...
Hospitality is as old as mankind. Everyday across the world people are being hosted or hosting others. If you succeed to create a culture of hospitality, your workplace productivity and team spirit will skyrocket.
Although we are a technology company by design, running this workshop showed me that we are a hospitality company at heart. This is something we'd like to cherish and foster as our company grows.
So what hosting practices do you already apply in your office?