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Welcome to the Fresh Tracks team building blog. This is a growing collection of team development news, opinions, tips and advice. We would love your input so feel free to comment or get in touch.

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Feeling Lonely Working from Home – 7 Solutions

working from home

As the nights draw in, the feelings of freedom and liberation from not having to commute to the office are being replaced by less positive feelings about work, relationships and even our homes, particularly as the house that was once a haven from career pressures is now the host.

Here are some practical techniques we can share to help our people to remain positive and productive when working from home: Make time for regular one to one welfare conversations between line managers and direct reports Segregate your work space. If you have no option to work from the kitchen table or bedroom then get a large box and physically pack away your work at evenings and weekends. Prioritise just one work task each day, get it done early. Feelings of accomplishment heighten our mood. Do at least one healthy activity every day, exercise, make a smoothie, meditate. We recommend scheduling this as early in your day as possible, then when you feel jaded during the day do another Schedule weekly face to face time, meet a colleague for a walk or have a date night with your partner Get serious about your sleep, working and resting in the same building can lead to disrupted sleep https://www.freshtracks.co.uk/5-sleep-myths-and-10-techniques-that-really-work/ Schedule quarterly team meet ups, it might have to be an evening around a camp fire to comply with the rules but where there’s a will there’s a way

What will events look like in 2021?

2020 has been a funny year for all those who work in live events. Whilst some have struggled, others have thrived as we as an industry have made the switch to digital conferences and events.

keynotespeakers

Whilst there is something about physical events and meetings that cannot be replicated on video calls, we at Fresh Tracks believe this is not a good enough reason to stop making connections with our clients and business partners.

Today, we outline our vision for 2021, what conferences and events will look like, and how they will be better than anything achieved in 2020 so far.

Hybrid conferences will come into their own

Whilst many have hosted conferences purely online during the lockdown, as we move into a more socially distanced but flexible world, hybrid conferences have great potential to grow. We envision the best of both worlds, physical panels, and demonstrations conducted with a small live audience and a broadcast through digital platforms.

This will make sure no one misses out on the great content good events have to offer. We view this as not only a means of ‘surviving’ in the age of social distancing but thriving, by connecting audiences and roundtable discussions from all around the world.

Remote tables and discussion

When it comes to roundtables, the ad hoc discussions and debates that often crop up are fantastic. They help pave the way for real learning and development and are great for team building.

In 2021, these will have to be remote in many cases. This brings forward a wide range of opportunities. Remote round tables will help connect those from different parts of the world, modern technology around translation and communication will make the transition from physical tables to virtual ones seamless.

Pre-recorded content will provide flexibility

Pre-recorded content is great for events that can often be somewhat chaotic to organise! There is a great opportunity in 2021 to create content that has an impact not only for those at the event but also those that wish to connect and learn after. This is a great chance to create real digital assets that will provide value for businesses and customers for years to come.

A greater variety of keynote speakers

Getting great keynote speakers for events can be challenging, especially in the old world where we were limited to time, travel, and location. In the new digital future, this may no longer be a problem. For many events companies, connecting with great relevant speakers will be much more affordable and flexible. Allowing an event held in Australia to include a fantastic keynote from an expert in Canada, India, and everywhere in between.

We predict greater audience participation in future events

Many shy away when it comes to audience participation but in virtual events, many feel much more comfortable voicing their opinions and taking part! We aim to achieve this through community content submissions, live polls, and interactive quizzes. All this combined will help to create a virtual live event experience that will create value for all those involved.

You can’t control change, but you can control how you react

Many businesses have had to rework their business models to survive this year, and at Fresh Tracks, we relish the opportunity to do so. Live events have so much to offer online and connecting with communities and other individuals are going to become increasingly important.

The events of the future may provide access to virtual and augmented reality, live discussions, and interactive content. All these are opportunities, we feel, are too good to be passed up!

5 Ways to Resurrect your 2020 Conference

Is there a nagging feeling in your gut that this year, more than any other it’s important to get staff and leaders together?

Do you feel it is time to share the strategy which has changed so much? Is there a need to generate a sense of one organisation, separated by distance but united in purpose? Do your people deserve to be recognised for going the extra mile whilst stuck at home?

Some have simply cancelled their plans but in doing so will fail to give their business the shot in the arm it so desperately needs. Braver leaders are taking a bolder route, exploring new ways of communicating the mission and preparing now for the approaching moment when we can meet face to face. Here are five ways to reengage a large cohort without compromising health.

Unthinkable thinking

The world has changed and so have our lives. We may have even adopted a new outlook, refocused on what really matters –health over wealth, friends over followers. We could be forgiven for feeling that we’ve done enough, we’ve adapted and changed to cope with our new reality.

Have we done enough? In the months and years to come, it won’t be sufficient to simply cope. We must be prepared to reinvent our products, our work and ourselves to thrive in a future which is hard to imagine. Many others have written on the societal and economic changes we are likely to encounter, so I won’t elongate this piece by repeating their words. My concern today is with our thinking. How has this changed and does it need to?


Sleep through Mental Health Awareness Week

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week running 18-24 May is sleep. A subject we’ve been especially engaged in for the past 15 years. During which time tremendous advances in the science of sleep have been achieved.

We now know better than ever before, why we sleep, how we sleep and most importantly the life-limiting effects of not getting sufficient sleep. One notable fact is that disrupted sleep is always a precursor to depression and many other psychological conditions. So it could be said that good sleep is a vaccine for mental illness.

Whilst a number of excellent books have been published on the subject in recent years, new discoveries are being made monthly and so publications go out of date faster than prawns in the sun. Instead, we’d recommend you reserve one of our Sleep Briefings during Mental Health Awareness Week, they last less than an hour and can be delivered in your workplace.

Write to us at mail@freshtracks.co.uk to check availability.

Our Shed is on TV

Here at Fresh we have a shed, it’s quite a special shed, originally built in the 16th Century from reclaimed ships’ timbers.

More recently we’ve brushed away the cobwebs and breathed new life into this ancient building. Now known as Wellbeing Barn it has become a multi-use space for team away days and small group retreats. Late last year it caught the eye of the BBC and has also become the set for a series of children’s nature shows.

If you’re looking for a private and unique space we’d love to hear from you.

Big Budget Boredom

Once upon a time a well known retailer was working hard to recover from a slump and wanted it’s store leaders to stop competing against one another and instead share their best ideas and resources. A noble and wise message.

During the months of build up their conference agency designed, refined and honed an event to inspire their top 500. The AV team produced a phenomenal stage and set. There was even a wardrobe department with a seamstress on hand. The budget ran to several hundred thousand pounds.

On paper the programme looked impressive and inspiring. Until the management team took to the stage, all of them! Each ignoring their five minute allocation and instead sharing their perspective for ten, fifteen and in one case twenty minutes!

All were reasonably accomplished speakers, one or two were entertaining but none had rehearsed and they had certainly not compared notes to avoid repeating themselves. Each extolled the value of collaboration, yet their three hour marathon to a post lunch audience in a darkened room simply illustrated that they hadn’t worked together.

Just after 6pm the jaded audience emerged, two hours late somewhat less than inspired.

If you are organising a conference, start with what your delegates will feel, not with what they see. Bright lights have a momentary impact but a well structured message with audience participation can last a lifetime.

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