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Team-building stoke fear in your heart?

The words ‘teambuilding’ may stoke fear in our hearts at the best of times, but during a pandemic, they often mean several extra hours on Zoom – something we could all live without.

Amid the Covid pandemic, companies are increasingly in need of ways to keep their teams focused and maintain a sense of cohesion;  as of March, many will have spent almost a whole year working remotely. So as everything else has moved online, including hiking trips and haircuts, team building has followed suit. But this has brought its own problems.

Whereas at least before Covid the activities involved might have included a day ‘off’ work or a weekend away, now they entail yet more time at your desk, glued to your computer screen. As millions battle Zoom fatigue and – oddly – even longer working hours than before, virtual team building is arguably even more agonizing than the real thing. It’s also inherently flawed.

Since Covid-19, companies have been forced to focus more on events that can be done via video calls, like virtual escape rooms. During these live-hosted events, companies start with a background story (so that there’s a bit of emotion and a bit of theatre) and then task contestants with a series of puzzles that need to be solved within a set time frame.

But it’s much harder to achieve the same level of bonding when you’re not physically together; in the virtual world, there’s less scope for the unexpected or unpleasant to happen – things that you can recall later and giggle about. And this means it’s unlikely to be as good at forging a sense of solidarity.

In a 2018 study,  groups who consumed raw chilies or did upright wall squats – painful experiences – had more supportive interactions among team-members and heightened collective creativity, versus those who were just asked to eat hard-boiled sweets or balance on one leg. So, as infantilizing as organized fun seems, it can provide the opportunity for teams to experience mutual hardships that could strengthen connections, such as struggling through bad weather together or even experiencing team-building #fails like dropping a colleague on their head (though not recommended).

Effective team building is thought to require two things. The first is a change of scenery, which makes the activity seem more like a break and less like a continuation of your normal day. The second is a demonstration that your employer genuinely cares about your wellbeing – and perhaps the feeling that this is the purpose of the task. Virtual team-building fails spectacularly at both o these. First, it’s nearly impossible to provide specialised attention on a group video call, to make people feel like they matter. And if you’re attending a team-building video chat from the same place as your regular meetings, it’s hardly going to feel like a change of environment.

This is why we at Zebula Golf Estate and Spa have developed a special Bush conference package for you that can be adapted to suit your unique needs. Our conference venues are compliant with social distancing and all Government-mandated Covid regulations. We are situated a mere 2-hour drive from Johannesburg and a 1-hour drive from Pretoria near Bela Bela in the Limpopo province making it the ideal destination for your team to travel to in safety. Accommodation can be provided in separate Bushveld Villas that are surrounded by nothing but nature. We also offer a range of open-air team-building activities such as elephant interactions, Quad Bike Adventures, Game View, Clay Pigeon shooting, Paintball, or enjoy a round of golf with your colleagues. For more information on our special Bush conference package please visit https://zebula.co.za/bushconference/

The Rise of the Bleisure Traveller

From the digital nomad tapping out a blog post on a beach in Bali to the manager checking her emails on a Niseko ski lift, from the full-time freelancer in a coworking space to the engineer coding from his home office, technology has blurred the boundaries between work and play, professional and personal, career and downtime.
And as the lines between work and life blur, so do the distinctions between business and personal travel. It’s a trend that goes way beyond the tried-and-tested formula of bringing your partner to a conference. Where destinations appeal, professionals around the globe are increasingly adding weekends, or even weeks, to work trips, whether solo, with a partner or as a family. So established is this hybrid of business and leisure travel that it’s acquired a portmanteau moniker – “leisure travel”.
Zebula Golf Estate and Spa is perfectly equipped to cater for all types of business travelers – whatever their needs may be – and will do whatever it takes to ensure their business travel is a success.
Whether it be an encounter with elephants, or experiencing the adrenaline rush of a quad bike safari, enjoying 5 star cuisine, convenient locations to build professional relationships, constant connectivity and the facilities to work effectively, a desire to stay fit and healthy whilst on the road, or the space to truly unwind at the end of the busy day, Zebula is the ideal choice

Spas are good for your next business meeting

Spas, havens of relaxation and tranquility that promote wellness and relief through services and amenities that relax the body and soothe the soul, provide the ultimate escape for on-the-go individuals. In fact, according to the International Spa Association, the No. 1 reason people go to a spa is to relax and to relieve or reduce stress. And in today’s troubling economic times, it’s likely your meetings are full of stressed-out attendees in need of serenity. “With this difficult economy, many people are facing more anxiety than ever, so providing a chance to pause and alleviate stress is critical and beneficial during a long business meeting,” says ISPA President Lynne McNees.

How to Choose Conference Locations

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There are a lot of things to consider when choosing where to host your next conference. No one location is right for every event. Consider your attendees. Are they focused more on convenience, price, culture, or climate? If you’re planning a conference geared toward adventure-seeking sales reps, it’s probably important to look for conference locations with outdoor activities. But if you’re planning a conference for busy finance professionals, the most important factor might be convenience and finding a location that isn’t too far and has great internet connectivity.

When choosing a conference location, there are lots of things to consider, including:

  • Safety
  • Travel costs
  • Accommodation and restaurant costs
  • Access to the airport
  • A wide variety of activities
  • Climate
  • Cultural attractions
  • Number of rooms available

Why Golf will benefit you in business

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Golf can be one of the most challenging and frustrating games that you will ever play. Unlike other sports, your opponents are not trying to hit, tackle or throw one by you. No, in golf, you’re playing against the course and the conditions. Like in business, your fate is in your hands. Golf also magnifies true character. Engaging in a sport like golf allows you to see your playing partners in a variety of different situations: failure, success, leisure, and stress. If your round starts off as a casual, fun experience and ends with thrown or broken clubs (unlikely, but entirely possible!), then perhaps you have learned something about your business cohort that you wouldn’t have learned in a conference room. The qualities required to be a delightful golfing partner often match those of a good business partner– patience, cool under pressure, and adaptable. Finally, you can’t forget about the 19th hole. At the end of your round, having a beautiful clubhouse, first-class meal, and a celebratory drink will close the deal. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Zebula a truly great course to play

Zebula Golf Course is a classic Bushveld par 72 course, set in the open plains of the reserve with herds of game roaming freely. The course is relatively flat yet undulating, inviting to play with generous fairways and clusters of trees that act as hazards. Voted the Golf Digest’s Best New Golf Course 2004 and awarded the 5 star Golf Experience for 2010 by Compleat Golfer, Zebula has matured wonderfully over the past few years into a truly great course to play.

Zebula was designed by the legendary Peter Matkovich, a golf professional for 25 years, and a world-respected golf course designer for more than 15 years. When it comes to golf course design, first and foremost Peter is an environmentalist – seamlessly blending nature and design to create golf courses that are inherently sensitive to local environments. In fact, love for the indigenous remains a cornerstone of his designs; to him, golf should offer a retreat, an escape, from one’s busy life.

The layout, built to USGA specifications with kikuyu fairways and bent grass greens is so much part of the bushveld experience that one wouldn’t be surprised to encounter a lofty giraffe or a shy zebra or two during your golfing experience. The wonderful year-round climate and the judicious use of naturally occurring water practically guarantees the course will be green year round.

Complemented as it is by an excellent Clubhouse with a location that defies description, a well-stocked Pro Shop and superb practice facilities, Zebula is a joy to play. You are destined to keep coming back again and again to experience it. As we like to say: if you have Africa in your blood and you love the game of golf, life just doesn’t get better than this!

Golf Design, the Peter Matkovich way.

“Golf course design is an area where we have immense responsibility. Besides trying to create the most enjoyable and memorable courses for golfers to play on, we need to ensure that we do it in such a way that those who come after us, can do so with the same wonder and awe at all of nature’s beauty.Golf courses can and should have a positive impact on their surrounds, which is essential for the game to grow.”