Olive picking and Team Building in Menfi: a unique experience

by Maria Isolina Catanese - CEO of H2N
10 July 2018

At H2N, we are very familiar with the advantages of Team Building for groups of professionals and the benefits of being in contact with Nature. Collaborative activities such as harvesting olives to make extra virgin olive oil provide the ideal way for work colleagues to get to know each other better through taking part in challenging and rewarding experiences under the Sicilian sun. They also provide the perfect antidote to the stress that inevitably builds up in a corporate environment.

Picking olives is by definition a team-based activity. In Sicily, it’s also very much a social occasion as well. The olive harvest represents a time to come together when everyone works towards achieving a single goal. We have an emotional connection with olives and the extra virgin olive oil they are used to make. (It’s a fundamental part of the Mediterranean diet – we use olive oil in everything! And there’s a growing body of scientific and medical research pointing to the health benefits of our way of eating and our culinary traditions.)

For most of the visitors we welcome to our Team Building programmes in Menfi, taking part in the olive harvest is something they have never done before. They spend the day out in the countryside, learn about nature and decide on how best to organise themselves in order to achieve the goal of bringing in the harvest.  It’s also an opportunity to learn about the complete production process from the field to the table. One of the best things about this experience is the pure, simple satisfaction people receive in seeing the result of their work at the end of the day: the crates of olives ready to be pressed to make oil – and nothing tastes better than something you have produced yourself.

In the modern world – and especially today’s frenetic work environment - everything has to be done “five minutes ago”. There’s no time for contemplation or thinking about the interactions between colleagues on a human level. The demands of customers, the market and “the system” are unrelenting. Spending time away from the office in the countryside can give professionals the chance to reflect and allow them to get a unique perspective that is simply not available when they face the constant pressure of work. The area around Menfi in south-western Sicily is particularly unspoilt and tranquil. It’s the perfect setting to reconnect with the people in your team.

Some interesting things happen when groups of colleagues are taken out of their normal working environment and their everyday roles: people reveal hidden talents and strengths that would never be discovered in the office. When the team is given an unusual challenge, it is often assistants and juniors who take a more prominent role. Managers might find themselves taking on supportive roles or be just another member of the team rather than having to lead or direct all the activities. There is no template that has to be followed when a group of people pick olives together; there is no single way to get the job done. It’s a chance to experiment, make mistakes and learn together. There are also real benefits in terms of communication within the group: everybody is free to express themselves without judgment.

The overall aim of the activity is to learn more about each other. It is an opportunity to find out what you are capable of, how to collaborate better and how to apply your imagination. There’s always a lot of laughter as well. It’s a shared experience that places everyone on the same level.

Being in touch with nature all day has a calming effect. You can enjoy simple but fundamental experiences, such as the breeze heavy with the scents of the countryside; the salty tang of the sea air along the coast; and the scent of the damp, red earth first thing in the morning. Eating traditional Sicilian food when the harvest is done and enjoying a great night’s sleep after a day in the fields will also leave you feeling re-energised.

With “A Box of Sicily”, participants can receive specially-made presentation packs containing bottles of oil produced using the olives the team themselves have picked. The packs and their contents can be fully customised for each company, including logos and personalised designs. (You can read here about the experiences of a group of colleagues from Van Dinter, a Dutch company, who came to Menfi last year for an H2N programme. We also created a unique “Box of Sicily” for them to take back after the event.)

Olive picking is only one of the experiences we have on offer. It can be combined with other activities such as yoga or golf at the nearby luxury Verdura resort, featuring three golf courses next to the sea. You can also crew a yacht as part of our Sailing Team Building. Additionally, we offer a range of coaching programmes for groups, individuals or families.

To find out more about all our Team Building, Coaching and other activities, please contact us at info@human2nature.it . We will be delighted to tell you more about the full range of our programmes and experiences.


Dove Siamo - Where we Are

Information: info@human2nature.it
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Mobile: +39 3387785866
Menfi (AG) - Sicily, Italia

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