Last Thursday we set off in old clothes towards the lake, not really knowing what to expect.

We’d arranged raft building for the team’s 2017 Summer Social, and I think everyone was looking forward to some time in the sunshine, and a healthy dose of inter-team competitiveness!

Once we’d arrived to the beautiful views of the lake, we were met by our equipment and instructors.

On this hot summer’s evening the water looked tantalising, but first we had to build our rafts. We were split into three teams (A, B and C), and were allowed 10 minutes of head scratching to think of ways to build our rafts. Equipped with four barrels, a pile of ropes and 4 thin wooden planks, this was a real test.

The lakeside became a hive of activity as we all threw in our ideas, from the conventional to the creative (and the downright crazy).

After what seemed like two seconds, it was time to start building.

Everyone jumped to the task. Busy hands rushed to grapple rope and plastic barrels as we set about creating our floating (or not, in some cases) constructions. There were some team leaders, some expert knot tyers, and even some risk assessors, but everyone got to play a part.

An hour passed in the blink of an eye and now it was time to stand back and admire our creations. Surprisingly, we’d all gone with slightly different approaches – this would make for an interesting race. We awaited the race nervously as the instructors quietly took bets on who they thought might win or lose.

Donning their helmets and safety jackets, the raft-riders (rather uncomfortably) took their positions…

The whistle was blown, and we were off!

Teams A and B were off to a great – if a little precarious – start, but team C had difficulty making it off the starting line after one team member (naming no names!) had already fallen in. Through the laughing and squealing you could hear the sounds of team members cheering from the shore. Some of the more serious contestants yelled “…Stroke! …Stroke!”, clearly embracing their inner Oxbridge rower.


The race between teams A and B was close – neck and neck at the halfway point.

Then, out of nowhere, team B suffered a fatal blow as one of their barrels rolled over, throwing the whole raft off balance, and their whole team into the drink. Barely looking back, and now taking the race much more seriously at the prospect of winning, team A pushed forward. Team C was back in the running and hot on their heels.


But, with great panache (and a dash of total exhaustion), team A glided across the finish line in first place. Team C wasn’t far behind, and poor team B swam back shortly after.

After some congratulations (and commiserations), we dried off and headed to a nearby pub for some much-needed grub. A good end to a great day!

It’s safe to say the team thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, but socials like these serve other important purposes too.

Working with different members of the company, who we may not get to interact with much day-to-day, allowed us to work together and collaborate towards a common goal – good practice for the essential teamwork we see back in the office.

Meanwhile, getting creative and thinking strategically offers the opportunity for some to take part in roles they might not usually experience (it’s not often that us marketers get to work with the Finance team on ‘product development’…).

And a dinner at the pub offered precious time for the team to collectively let off steam – reinforcing that all -important company culture that we love to talk about so much.

All in all, it was a fantastic day, and for all the right reasons.

Now, back to recruitment software…


Find out more

Discover what we got up to in a previous Summer Social

Find out more about our amazing team members

Our Charity of the Year: Contact the Elderly 

About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.