Remembering my first day at a digital product studio 3 years ago




Joining the NEVERBLAND digital product design studio three years ago, I was excited to get stuck in to my role as studio manager and get to know the team quickly. Luckily, I was tasked with organising the Summer day on day one! A day everyone can let their hair down, team build,…. keeping everyone entertained and organising all the small details of where to meet (read: do not tell people to meet at Pret in Liverpool station).

If you google white water rafting you will see that it requires ‘dealing with risk, and the need for teamwork’ – the perfect summer day activity right?! Ready to impress, I set to work planning our day out at the Lea Valley White Water Raft Centre. The London 2012 Summer Olympic venue had now been transformed into not only a British Olympic training centre, but a venue offering canoeing and rafting activities to the public. Something for everyone…

It was D-Day

The venue was impressive, a large outdoor space with British Olympic hopefuls coming to and from training as well as multiple viewing platforms where you can watch the action unfold on the water. We headed straight through to reception, grabbed our wristbands and made our way to the equipment booth. We slid into our wetsuits (with me putting it on backwards at first – what a noob) and secured our boots. After a quick selfie in the mirror, we quickly realised that nobody looks good in a wetsuit.

Changing room glam!

We started the day with the ‘Water Wipe Out’ and true to its word, it wiped us out. The activity consisted of a race against the clock where you had to dodge obstacles and get to the finish in the quickest time possible, whilst avoiding a fall into the water. Thinking we’d be bored after a couple of loops… it quickly turned to a gladiator style take out.

Omg, we need food!

It was August which meant for one kind of lunch, a BBQ! We were all shattered and with the water rafting luming in a few hours we needed that carb overload.

The main event

Next, our squadron of badly dressed seal impersonators headed to helmet selection. Note the extra strong swimmers, in the yellow hats.

Helmet selection was another hurdle for me as your helmet was determined based on your swimming ability. I was not confident (shocker) so the yellow helmet suited me perfectly but thankfully I wasn’t the only one. Before I knew it, there was nowhere to run. It was all about to kick off!

You are introduced to your instructor (my team had Kris) who talks you through all things health and safety. I didn’t expect the raft to be as big as it was, so thank god I had a team of 8 to help me. Before you begin the rafting you must all complete a swim test to make sure you are safe…I know, a test?! The task involves you jumping into the water from a step at the top of one of the rapids, floating down the fast water while bracing the ‘down river position’ before swimming to the side of the canal to exit. Thankfully, we all faced the swim test – now time to raft!

Feel the fear factor

The experience involves being taken around the course multiple times whilst the water changes speed and the instructor commands different paddle strokes and positions. This was a true test of not only our physical attributes but a test of how well we can communicate and listen to one another in a challenging environment. I doubt you’ll see any of us at the next Olympics, but we definitely learnt how to better work as a team and will always have this activity to bond over for years to come. Neverbland always strive to create a good work life balance and it was super important to have a summer day where all staff could let go of their laptops and breathe in some fresh air.

Lee Valley provide a great day out, and we all thoroughly recommend it for any group activities.

Check it out

I have to admit I felt the pressure to make 2019s summer activity day the best (sorry Leah) and not to be big headed (maybe just a tad), it was absolutely brilliant – and as it turns out, not that scary!

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