This weekend Spill Group Asia and our game development company Zlong Games went on a company outing in the mountains of Zhejiang. We left early Saturday morning (6:45 AM at the office!) by bus, and arrived around 11 AM close to the outward bound base. During the bus ride (in two buses, the company has become too big for one bus) I had planned to get some extra sleep, but that did not work out. Most of the ride was used to introduce oneself, and to introduce the people in front of you. The persons in the back had a hard time remembering all the names and information.
Upon arrival we started with a lunch in a local restaurant: without enough food at regular times a Chinese outing can never be a success! Lunch was followed by a short introduction by our ‘drill sergeant’, a former member of the Chinese Special Forces. We all had to stand in lines, and the 4 people who were too late got a punishment. The tone for the weekend was set! Then we did some group exercises, and after that 3 groups were formed. These had to come up with among others a leader, a name, a song and a flag within a few minutes, and had to present that. Laughing during the presentation was punished by 20 push-ups, as the leader of the second team found out quickly.
Then we set off on foot to our base camp on top of a mountain. The slopes were slippery, and sometimes it was quite dangerous. At some points you had to climb over wet, slippery rocks with hardly any grip and if you would fall you would end up 10 meters lower. I had the feeling most people did not see the danger, because many are not used to the outdoors. I am, however, and did not feel all that comfortable. Later I asked people if they had not been afraid, and although some had been a bit scared the general answer was: “The coaches guided us, so there was no problem”. Luckily there was no problem, but I doubted the professionalism of the organizing company a bit. Indeed I slipped once, but not at a dangerous location, and hurt my back pretty badly. I was not able to participate in most other activities because of this, which was a pity.
After a 2-3 hours uphill hike we arrived at our base camp, where we did several more group exercises and set up our tents for the night. They were not completely water proof (the guide: “If it starts to rain hard it’s best to sleep inside one of the buildings.”), but luckily there was not much rain overnight. The evening was spent with games at the camp fire and a barbecue, and we were all so exhausted that by 10 PM most people retired to their tents.
At 5:30 it got light and we got up. We had to clean the tents and get ready for some morning exercises – only after that we were allowed to have breakfast. After some more activities the group went on a cave tour – crawling through water and climbing inside the caves. Because of my back injury I could not join, which I really regretted. Around 3 PM we descended the mountain again and by 4 PM we were back at the buses. All in all a weekend where people got to know each other a lot better, with some elements of a boot camp, but mainly lots of fun. Except for the hike on the first day I would recommend this to every company that wants to improve its team spirit.