As part of the TUI Travel Graduate Scheme, I have the incredible opportunity of seeing how different businesses are run and learning from them what I can about the kind of working atmosphere I would like to be a part of.
During my placement at Quark Expeditions, I’m getting insight into a few traditions which really add to the family atmosphere of the office.
One example is the weekly Friday afternoon drinks and nibbles, where we finish what we’re doing around 4-4.30pm and stroll into the MD’s office for a bit of relaxation and a chance to chat and unwind together. It’s a really nice opportunity to get to know people on a social level and has certainly been a benefit to me in particular as a newbie in the office.
Then there’s the coffee machine. A small addition, it’s really not much and can’t have been too much of an investment for the office either, but everyone loves taking advantage of the array of different coffees, teas and hot chocolates it makes – and it’s so much quicker than waiting around for the kettle to boil!
We also have a good supply of fruit and a regular supply of treats that everyone in the office gets to share. There’s really nothing nicer on a nice sunny day than getting the office wide email telling us strawberries and fruit bread are waiting for us in the kitchen and it gives a real boost to the day. And with my body struggling to cope with the changing temperatures here in Toronto, I’m loving the fact that there are Kleenex issues supplied for every employee!
All of these things are only very small and don’t require a big investment from the business. Though Quark is a business doing well, it seems to me that there is no reason that even businesses struggling in the current climate can’t set aside a small pot each week to provide these little things for their employees that can really make a big difference. If we can provide small treats that make people feel special and encourage relaxation and chatting at an appropriate time, I believe we can create a nicer working atmosphere and a culture of communication and collaboration which can only help the business in the long run. Add this to the regular team meetings held at Quark and, in my opinion, you’ve got a recipe for a really satisfied workforce.
And it’s not just employees who benefit from small additions. Little things such as personalisation of merchandise, providing pre-paid postcards at every destination or even giving customers ‘spending money’ for every destination visited on a tour – by adding these little treats and bringing an element of personalisation to the experience, I believe we can really add a lot of value for the customer without a great deal of investment on the part of the business.
The experiences we have are not all about the money. They’re about the little things that make us feel extra special. I really hope I can carry that philosophy throughout my career and hopefully encourage the use of some of Quark’s little treats in the other placements I undertake.