It is 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon and The New Times newsroom is a buzz with activity. This is not ordinary Saturday and the noise is not the usual one of fingers banging at the key board as reporters hurriedly file stories to beat various deadlines.
Instead, there is an excitement in the air, and the bunter between colleagues is light and humorous. Today, the Daily is set to play Star Media in a friendly football match at the Police grounds in Kacyiru.
Someone posted a notice on the wall that sent anyone who read laughing. It read: ‘TNT TEAM come back with a win or stay at Kacyiru Police!! Good luck boys and girls’.
Who would have thought anyone among us would be so good humoured. This was the first of many other revelations the afternoon had in store for us.
The football field (or any other sport or extra curricula activity for that matter) is a levelling ground. Where the organogram is irrelevant, and is replaced by relevant positions as per the sport; where the lowest cadre of staff can play side by side with their seniors.
It is also where we get to know things about our colleagues that cannot be revealed under the officialdom of every day office life.
‘I didn’t know so-and-so (We shall conceal all names) was bolding’, came one comment as the game was underway, ‘he must be over 35’, he concluded. ‘He is not that old’, said another in protest, ‘besides, is 35 the official bolding age?’, he questioned. ‘Maybe you should do a story on bolding?’, was the in put from yet another.
The revelations were indeed free and flowing. ‘He has such bow legs, I have never seen him in shorts before’, ‘He is such a good player’, ‘He loves his Waragi’, ‘at half time, instead of drinking water, he took a cigarette! He smokes like a chimney.’
These and many other comments were made in a light manner because of the context and environment. Such comments in a different environment may be perceived very differently
Out-of-office activities are indeed a great way for colleagues to bond and get to know each other better. Personality traits that may not be easily recognisable in the office can be revealed ‘out there’, in a relaxed and unthreatening manner.
Although people don’t have to like each other to work together, the working environment is by far a much better place if we enjoy being with our colleagues. Happier workers are more productive.