Updated: Jun 3, 2021
The case study: The Life Adventure
This summer, The Life Adventure is launching 36-hour “radical corporate wellness retreats” for burnt-out, Zoom-fatigued teams. Taking place in rural Surrey and Hampshire, UK, the “Restore, Recharge and Reimagine” camps are designed to help build connections between people, inspire ideas and release stress, writes Jenny Southan.
The Life Adventure is a “wellbeing agency” that mainly works with the UK government. It was founded by Justine Clement, the former CEO of a £2 million-backed start-up called Unmissable that focused on experiential travel and worked with brands such as Unilever and PepsiCo; and author and consultant Preethi Nair, who specialises in teaching storytelling and creativity to global leadership teams from companies such as the BBC, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, PWC and AstraZeneca.
Noticing an opportunity to bring together colleagues that have been physically disconnected as a consequence of working from home during the pandemic, they are running a series of corporate retreats for up to 20 people at a time – some of whom may never have met each other before.
Participants will be accommodated in comfortable, furnished bell tents – complete with beds, sofas, wood-burning stoves and smartphone power – and will take part in a range of activities. These include campfire storytelling, journaling (the practice of reflective or expressive writing), vision building (purposefully constructing goals for the future), forest bathing (spending meditative time among trees) and “conscious connected breathwork”.
Clement said in a statement: “It might not sound like a typical corporate retreat but our programme is grounded in science. Studies have shown that journaling can improve mental health, and just two hours in nature can boost happiness and wellbeing. So imagine what 36 hours can do. Practising ‘conscious connected breath’ releases stress, boosts immunity and improves sleep. We want to equip people with tools that they can then go on and use every day in their lives.”
Nair added: “There is a real need for connection and we wanted to create a space where teams could come together and not just connect with each other, but with themselves and also nature. It allows them to start thinking of the big picture again.”
How much does it cost? £15,900 for up to 20 people (£795 per person based on two people per tent or £1,590 per person based on one person per tent – there are ten tents in total). A drinks package is available for an additional £60 per person including wine, prosecco and local ale. Longer stays of a week or even a month are also possible for larger teams. Bed linen, hot showers, proper toilets and meals are all provided, and there is also a central communal teepee with a banquet table, library and lounge inside.
Wanting to know more, VOLT spoke with Clement to get further understanding of the concept. She says: “We’ve spent considerable time working out what’s required and know corporates need radical solutions. Taking business people to a glamping site in luxury surroundings with a private chef and workshops of this kind has not been done before.”
Clement confirms they have already received bookings but to make it cost effective, it is better for the two-night stays to be booked by groups rather than individuals, which is why they are targeting companies. She says that the aim of the retreats is to provide “an opportunity for people to pause, reflect and start again; to get their energy back and feel ready to embrace a brand new way of being in the world and at work”.
What have you learnt about the unique wellness demands of business people in your work with big corporations and the UK government? Clement tells VOLT: “Everyone is tired, exhausted, overwhelmed and has no demarcation between home and work life. Government departments are particularly under strain as projects and plans change constantly, so they’re always needing to feel like they’re on top of their game and ready to switch what they’re working on to something new.”
What is The Life Adventure’s plan for growth? Clement tells VOLT: “We see the retreat as being a big part of our future because we believe in its power to transform the way people think, work and go about their lives. The tools we offer are not just for the duration that people are with us, they can take them and use them in their daily lives.”
She adds: “We believe that if we focus on the needs of our clients rather than on our own, then the company will naturally grow. I run another business which is a B Corporation and the values transfer across both companies. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Together we form a community of leaders driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good.”