Vitality The Most Creative Ways to Bond With Co-Workers Swap out this year’s company retreat for a one-of-a-kind yoga festival By Leslie Carvitto 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, 160 hours a month, 2,080 hours a year. This isn’t just the amount of time most of us spend at the office—it’s the also the amount of time we spend collaborating, producing, strategizing, and creating with our coworkers. At the end of the day, it’s likely you’ll spend more time with your deskmates than with your friends or family. The relationships we cultivate with our colleagues have a strong impact on our work environment; the better our rapport and connection, the more fun the office is. Heck, you might even enjoy going to work because of these friendships. Who wouldn’t want that? Corporations, startups, and big businesses alike get this. In an effort to create well-bonded teams and a fun culture, many companies host events to get people connecting outside of the office. While a happy hour is an opportunity to unwind and get to know which cocktail your coworkers fancy, there are alternative, more creative ways to bring everyone together and forge a deeper, lasting bond. 4 Reasons to Grab Your Co-Workers and Head to Wanderlust A weekend at a yoga festival might just be the most creative and enjoyable way to further connect with your coworkers. It’s more unexpected than your typical company retreats, but not as rowdy as a Coachella or Bonnaroo. Wanderlust offers music, TED-talk style Speakeasies, workshops, pool parties, and of course, accessible and fun yoga classes. This is what makes it so great for diverse groups of people—there is literally something for everyone, and something everyone can learn. You learn team-building. You are guaranteed to learn team building and Wanderlust—and not in the typical company retreat style. Take a look at the wanderlust schedule and you’ll see a plethora of activities that require collaboration and teamwork. Eco-kayaking, AcroYoga, and slacklining are just a few ways to strengthen trust and confidence in a colleague. If you had a lack of faith in a coworker before the festival, rest assured a changed perspective after being supported by them in an acro class. You get to play. Let’s face it: high-stress work situations don’t always bring out the best in us. It’s challenging to maintain cool, calm and collected when our jobs require multitasking and juggling important priorities. But a festival is an opportunity to let responsibilities go and have fun—with the added bonus of no hangover the next day. Combine that with a breathtaking location, supportive instructors, and live music every night, and and you’ll see the best versions of your colleague you’ve seen yet. You become more empathetic. Practicing yoga helps calm the mind, cultivate gratitude, and live with more self-awareness. This clearer sense of self paves the way for expanded compassion, vulnerability, and empathy. Not only does this benefit you directly, but it also improves each and every one of our relationships. Our yoga practice doesn’t stop when we step outside the studio. We take it with us to our home, the coffee shop, the freeway, and absolutely to our office space. You see your co-workers in a new light. You may think you know a lot about your coworkers after spending the majority of your day with them, but humans are full of surprises. Maybe someone you thought was more reserved is the person jumping on stage to dance alongside Shiva Rae. Or the colleague you labeled as rigid is the first to sign up for the Hoop Dance Flow Basic. You’ll walk away from the festival and back to the office with a deeper understanding of your colleagues, and a stronger appreciation for their character. This all sounds better than being cooped up in a conference room going through a trust fall activity right? Creating team bonding activities where employees can be active and try something new together can deepen employee relationships and create a more harmonious workplace. When the annual retreat time comes around, why not suggest something unique and creative? The relaxed and inspiring vibe at Wanderlust provides a welcoming environment to have fun while building lasting relationships with the people you see most. — Leslie Carvitto is a freelance writer and photographer based in Seattle, WA. She is fueled by creativity, community, coffee, and the great outdoors. A traveler at heart, she’s constantly adding stamps to her passport and seeking out adventure at home and abroad. Follow her travels at Forever Stoked and Instagram.