The first company day of 2018 saw the HRW UK and Swiss teams take to the streets of Oxford in search of Wellbeing, our theme for the day. The various EU offices congregated in the rather swanky Malmaison Hotel in the heart of Oxford for a day filled with informative talks and plenty of fun and competition. The New York office also held Company Day at their office on 27th and Broadway, taking place a week later. The festivities continued at a delicious pizzeria and concluded at the famous W.R. Grace Building in Bryant Park.
At both days we enjoyed a series of talks from our colleagues: Caroline Jameson (Global Managing Director) talked us through HRW’s strategy for the next financial year. Katie Broadhurst (Global HR Manager) gave us a HR update, including an exciting revamped internal training and development plan. Our Innovation Team, headed by Katy Irving, announced the revival of the Innovation Challenge in 2018, after its success in 2017. Kirsty Page (Senior Research Manager) and Jo McDonald (Research Director) updated us on OR: BIT’s (Oncology Research: Business Intelligence Team) coming plans for 2018.
After a meaty morning of talks, pastries and coffee, the EU team herded their way through beautiful and historical Oxford, to enjoy a multi-national buffet lunch at the renowned Cosmo’s restaurant! An array of foods from all over the world delighted each and every one of the team – no one left hungry!
A glutenous lunch was followed by our last internal talk of the day from the mighty and magnificent Shift team (our in-house experts in behavioural psychology) of course!! Katy Irving, John Maher, Allie Dautrich, Clare Zamble, and Kiran Pawar talked about the 30 projects using “Shifty” insights in the last year, and their plans to continue to advance the application of behavioural science!
We were pleased to welcome wellbeing expert, Susan MacDonald to our company day. Susan talked to us about the fundamental practices we should take seriously on a daily basis, to ensure our personal wellbeing allows us “to be our best,” not only at work but also in our personal time.
The US office also coordinated a visit from a wellbeing expert, Brogan Ganley. We practiced mindfulness, meditation and how to be present in our day-to-day lives. It’s amazing how much one can learn when they slow down, breathe and digest their thoughts and feelings. We hope to implement these small actions into our every day lives in order to remain cool, calm and collected.
The highlight of the EU company day was ‘The Apprentice Comes to HRW’, our fun activity which really brought the spirit of ‘Wellbeing’ to life and also generated some healthy competition! We were briefed by Lord Sugar, played by our very own Andrew Bajorek, looking rather fetching in a Lord Sugar mask, and let loose on the streets of Oxford, tasked with creating and branding a Wellbeing gift box, personalised to a member of HRW.
Provided just with a box and some stationary and with 1 hour to complete their task, teams had to get their wits together to divide and conquer this task to impress ‘Lord Sugar’. The Company Day Team followed our teams around the Oxford shops, observing the efficient teamwork and occasional questionable decisions that followed…
“Buy some stick-on moustaches!”
“Do you want me to start drawing faces on them?”
When their hour was up, we experienced four very creative (including one musical number) pitches to ‘Lord Sugar’, after which he made the difficult decision to ‘hire’ one team, who excelled with their luxury-themed gift box.
On the opposite side of the pond, the US office concluded the day with an “Escape the Room” activity: the team was given one hour to unlock the puzzle of the hidden artefact at the W.R. Grace Building and save the human race from invading aliens. The pressure was on to put our thinking hats on and work together to solve multiple riddles and patterns! HRW executed the challenge flawlessly, especially after our lesson on mindfulness. With less than 5 minutes to go, it all came down to choosing between two buttons – red or green. One button would destroy earth and the other would dismantle the invading aliens. Team coordinator Dylan Brown ultimately chose the green button. HRW single-handedly saved mankind.
After the end of a packed and successful day, we can only say that we’re already looking forward to our mid-year Company Day in September!
Written by: Kayleigh Gilbert, Sophie Jolliffe, Andrea Sutyak