By Katie Baines

The old adages of ‘a team that plays together, stays together’, and ‘a change being as good as a rest’ are not without foundation. Studies into team-building exercises largely conclude that they have a positive impact on team effectiveness and cohesion, and that taking team members out of their daily working environment amplifies the results. The most successful, memorable team-building events are ones that don’t feel like a day at the office at all, and spending time together, sharing an experience or working towards a common goal allows bonding to happen more organically and far more effectively.

While the AAS team is a small, perfectly formed and affable bunch of women who have forged a strong bond in the office, ‘time’ is a precious commodity that we rarely spend on each other, and this was something we had to rectify. So, with this in mind, we as a team shut up shop for a couple days and left for Bintan for some team-building.

Living in Singapore, we often take for granted that we’re within easy reach of an array of tropical resort islands that, as corporate offsite destinations, would be the envy of many HR departments based in our home countries. Indonesia’s Bintan is one such island and is just a hop, skip and jump away on a 75-minute ferry crossing.

We opted for Bintan Lagoon Resort, one of the most popular resorts to go to and home to sun, sea and two spectacular golf courses. What instantly strikes you about Bintan La-goon is its vastness. This Indonesian-style 470-room resort, with more than 11 dining and entertainment outlets, sprawls over 300 hectares of immaculately kept gardens and has a private, golden sand beach that stretches over nearly 1.5km. Particularly helpful in getting your tribe from A to B is that the resort has its own private ferry and terminal, meaning there is no need to organize additional transfers when you arrive on the island.

Our objective over the next few days focused on learning more about each other in a work context, so our needs were firmly ensconced in using one of the meeting rooms offered by the resort. The facility is fully-equipped with corporate resources, such as the Business Centre, audio visual equipment, and a suite of intimate to larger meeting rooms that can hold from 15 to 300 people. The Grand Marquee, which stretches over a combined open space area of more than 20,000 square feet and includes a pillar-free banquet hall, can accommodate up to 1,300 guests for larger functions and conferences. The added advantage of such a large-scale resort is that there is plenty of space for small groups to find their nook on the beach or in the gardens for break-out sessions.

If bonding outside of the work context forms part of your agenda, the Outdoor Adventure Training Facility offers immersive team-building and leadership programs. Golf tournaments and group activities at their Adventure Training Centre can be arranged, as well as archery, adventures on quad bikes, beach tug-of-war, water balloon relays, sack races, wooden plan races, and their scavenger challenge, Amazing Race.

If you would like all of the planning done for you, the resort offers the ‘Get Energised!’ package which includes ferry tickets, welcome drinks, accommodation, a lunch buffet, a half-day team building session and complimentary Wi-Fi access for all guests. For the full experience, there is the ’Work & Play’ package, which offers the same benefits, plus use of a function room for up to eight hours, two buffet lunches, a BBQ buffet dinner, and discounts off food and drink, recreation activities and spa packages at the resort’s Kedaton Spa.

While it was immensely useful having the luxury of time to focus on us as a team in a smart facility and a beautiful setting, the out-of-hours time spent together felt equally, if not more, instrumental in our bonding experience. There was no explicit lesson about team collaboration as we spent two dinners chattering between courses at Nelayan beachside restaurant, and collectively marveling at the skills of the Teppanyaki chef at Miyako restaurant. There was no talk of using our strengths to build a better Association over drinks at the bar. There was no session debrief as we walked along the beach. But the experiences brought everyone closer together.

How do you know you got your team-building experience right? If there was a combination of laughter, a sense of fun and accomplishment, and maybe a few Instagram moments, you were definitely on the right track!

The ‘Get Energised! Team Building Day Package’ starts from SGD135 net per person, and the ‘Work & Play Package’ starts from SGD 290 net per person. For more information, contact the Bintan Lagoon Resort Sales Department at sales@bintanlagoon.com.