Exploring the Impact of Social Programs at Acquarius

Discover how Acquarius crafts engaging social events to boost team morale and productivity.

The popular mantra “work hard, play hard” emphasises the importance of balancing dedication to work with opportunities for leisure and relaxation. However, some argue that its relevance in contemporary business culture is debatable. 

Recently, we have seen a growing recognition of the importance of work-life balance and well-being. Acquarius is one of a growing number of businesses that prioritise initiatives promoting employee health, happiness and fulfilment both within the workplace and beyond. This shift in emphasis reflects a deeper understanding of the need to support both long-term productivity and employee satisfaction.  

Acquarius’ has adopted a holistic approach prioritising well-being, personal development and memorable experiences. We have commented previously on corporate social responsibility and our commitment to standards – that led to our Investors in People accreditation. We also place great importance on social activity programmes at Acquarius. 

Social events play a crucial role in nurturing a positive culture and cohesive workplace environment. Team members are able to interact in a relaxed setting, thus inevitably boosting morale. These shared experiences heighten camaraderie resulting in improved collaboration and communication to the benefit of all concerned. 

We aim for our diverse social schedule to “be a heck of a lot of fun” and every year we organise a different programme whilst retaining some old favourites. Sometimes our socials include an element of voluntary work and “something for everyone” is the watchword we use in our planning.

Zyna explained that the programme is agreed in September each year, following through to August. A budget is set and whilst she is in charge of the social aspect, she sits on a committee that includes those looking at CSR, green initiatives and charitable donations too. This group gets involved in the decision making process although she admits, with a wry smile, that the success of social events will be down to her! 

In the past, the main social event was the Christmas party. The adapted model now comprises a dinner (normally in a private room or closed off area) followed by music from a DJ and partying until late. Whilst attendance is not obligatory, “everyone comes” says Zyna. Last year, she introduced a theme –”Charleston in the ‘20s” – but she remains tight lipped as to plans for Christmas 2024. “It’s a secret”, she says, “for now”. Acknowledging that not everyone likes to put on fancy dress, she is flexible “as long as some effort is visible”.

Another important occasion is the workday summer event that all attend, now in its third year. Everyone starts with breakfast before repairing to the beach. There, a series of games and other activities fill the day, culminating in a barbeque and normally a surprise finale.

The social committee schedules other events during the year. These include Maundy Thursday, which for some firms in Gibraltar counts as an unofficial half-holiday. For Acquarius, this is another chance for team bonding. Lunch and an afternoon activity follow a normal working morning and this year, an exciting visit to the local Escape Room proved very popular.

Some of the social events coincide happily with CSR and Wellness initiatives. Examples include the recent “Clean the Rock” exercise followed by a Commonwealth Park picnic. Again, most staff attended whilst families and friends were also invited. September plans include another beach clean, with a barbeque as a reward. 

Zyna encourages feedback following each event. As a result, she will not repeat the Christmas buffet restoring a sit down service this year! She works hard to ensure that the team want to attend planned events and is always on the lookout for “something different”. Thus, colleagues have the chance to do something only due to their involvement with Acquarius.

Zyna emphasises the importance of good planning and allowing sufficient time to develop an event. She adopts a “belt and braces” approach even for a “straightforward” event. Another recommendation is to provide details well in advance to avoid diary clashes and ensure a good turnout. 

Denise Bonavia, Acquarius’ social media lead, shares all events on channels including Instagram and Facebook. Promotion of our social activities is a way of demonstrating a human side of the firm to potential future recruits in Gibraltar and beyond. 

In conclusion, social events are not merely frivolous indulgences but strategic investments in a company's most valuable asset – its people. Nurturing relationships, fostering camaraderie, and promoting well-being, these gatherings contribute to a more cohesive, motivated, and productive workforce, ultimately driving the success and sustainability of the business.

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