More Naked Office

This isn’t an original post, it’s contrasting two other opinions of Virgin Ones Naked Office. One is taken from INAA’s blog about thier experiences on Naked Office (Original is here) and the other from an article in the Times (Original is here).

It’s interesting to compare the opinions of the participants and a bystander.

Why we shed our INAAhibitions for the Naked Office

I guess deep down I always wanted to do my own thing.  Even at school I was a bit of a rebel and usually just ahead of the latest trend.  So in starting my own company – –  I welcomed the freedom of decision-making and the challenge of building something from nothing.  Of course, only when you feel the pain of no regular income and many late nights, coupled with lots of soul searching, do you really know that being on your own brings its own set of conundrums.

Hell bent on improving services to the hair and beauty business by developing inexpensive software to operate an online booking portal, we were working full throttle when Shine Productions first approached us.  They asked if we would help them make a TV programme about businesses in a recession.
It sounded fantastic – what new company would turn away this level of publicity?  However, when Shine started to talk about their dress down Friday idea – and the extent of the dress down (i.e. naked) – I remember thinking, this is not for us.

So at first we refused on principle.  But then we were introduced to Seven Suphi, who is a phenomenally insightful woman.  We looked at her track record, the types of multi-national companies she has worked with and the achievements she brought to those organisations. Her idea was to unite our team with a challenge we could all face together – to come to work naked. Suddenly it was a no-brainer – we knew Seven’s radical approach would bring so much to our small organisation in a very short time.

One team meeting later and it was a unanimous YES – but with the proviso that would leave the decision to get naked with the individuals involved and no pressure would come from management.

The week of filming was certainly a new experience for us all. However, the most interesting aspect for our team was the business exercises, which brought a better understanding of each individual’s impact on what they do and how they interact with the other members of the team.  Sadly though, this doesn’t make great TV and so most of it has been cut from the programme.

By mid week we were all enjoying the filming – but at the back of everyone’s mind was what to do about Friday, and the naked office.  That’s when I thought, Demi Moore and body painting. It met with our modesty and ideals, and it fitted nicely with our image.  It was a mad dash finding the artists but the end result was perfect. We spent the day naked, but painted, and it turned out to be fun – if a little chilly.

So, apart from the publicity, what did we get out of it?

Well our week of intense learning about our own behaviours and how it affects others, from our expert Seven Suphi, led to redistribution of roles and responsibilities covering each aspect of the business. We created and implemented a better-shaped business plan. And each member of the team found their inner selves and reached out to embrace the principles and vision.

If someone had asked me six months ago would I go naked on national TV, I would have thought ‘are you crazy?’ But here we are with our television debut set for  the Virgin One channel in the next few weeks.

Oh, and just for the record, I did not fire my mother three times – it was only the once, honest!!!

Joanne Reid, MD


From the Times Online….

The naked truth about teambuilding

Business Life: Sathnam Sanghera
I think it’s fair to say that the management premise at the heart of The Naked Office, the new documentary series on Virgin 1 in which employees get naked in front of each other in the name of team bonding, hasn’t been embraced with enthusiasm. Last week The Times called it contrived and “cringey”, Metro said that it was “voyeurism tarted up as pop psychology”, The Guardian complained it was abusive, preposterous and pointless and The Independent dismissed it as a “fatuous but telegenic idea”.

Which is fair enough. I caught five minutes of the first episode and the whole thing was clearly a gratuitous excuse to get nudity on to the small screen. But I do think nudity in the office has something going for it as a corporate teambuilding exercise. Or rather, nudity in the office is not as silly as TV critics think when you examine it in the absurd context of teambuilding courses.

For starters, unlike many more conventional bonding activities like paintballing, totem pole carving, finger painting and wine blending, it takes place in the office place. In my experience, the most annoying thing about teambuilding courses is that they are rarely applicable to the workplace in any practical way.

Another thing that nudity at work has going for it: it is possible to draw business analogies and lessons from the experience. Admittedly, these lessons and analogies are highly tenuous but, in my experience, the other very grating thing about conventional teambuilding activities is that it is not possible to explain how they might improve business skills even in a theoretical way.

// At least with nudity in the office you could say that a few hours spent being naked might make employees more aware of the importance of health and safety, especially around filing cabinets and staplers. You could also argue that naturism might make team members more in touch with nature, a priority for corporations everywhere in recent years. And you could argue that nudity at work is just an enhanced version of dress down Friday — proven to improve morale.

But more than anything else is the knowledge that there are significantly more idiotic teambuilding ideas out there. Sounds unlikely? Well, here are three.

Play with Lego. According to the people behind Lego Serious Play, companies can use plastic building bricks to teach business professionals about “cultural change, equal opportunity, diversity, problem solving, strategic planning and teambuilding”.

Endure a near-death experience. According to Training & Coaching Today magazine, British Airways is running courses based on simulated aircraft crashes in which delegates climb on to a stationary 737 in a hangar in Heathrow, before being subjected to a simulated take-off to 3,000ft, followed by a nosedive “where the plane’s interior lights are turned off and it is filled with smoke”. When the plane “hits” the ground, delegates are obliged to find their way out as quickly as possible through designated exits.

Be tortured. According to The Washington Post in 2008, a sales rep in Utah sued his company after his boss waterboarded him as a “team-building exercise”. After the demonstration the supervisor reportedly remarked: “You saw how hard Chad fought for air right there … I want you to go back inside and fight that hard to make sales.”

I guess what I’m saying about nudity in the office as a bonding exercise is this: it might cost you your dignity, but at least it won’t end in serious injury or death.

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