Recently, I have been thinking about how fortunate I am to lead such a creative, talented team of professionals who truly value hard work and strive to please our clients. In the midst of the deadlines, I don’t ever want to forget about my most valued asset—my employees.

In a busy workplace where time is limited and deadlines frequent, how can our team establish an atmosphere conducive to creative thinking and problem solving for our clients?

Sometimes we have to set aside the deadlines and the details and spend time together outside of the office, because team building is an important part of the creative process. It boosts morale and increases productivity and success. So recently when I had to decide if I would take some of my team members to BDNY (Boutique Design New York) Trade Fair or schedule a glamorous team photoshoot or sponsor Team JAI in a Color Run—the answer was easy. YES!

Here’s what happens when we stop working and come together as a team:

Creativity Grows

Being together outside the office setting encourages us to think outside our daily routine. Working together in different environments ignites creativity and fresh ideas, which are great qualities to bring back to our hospitality clients.

Internal Walls Fall Down

In our industry, we are all about making sure walls DO NOT fall down—but in this case, our team building increases the trust we have with each other and removes any obstacles that are present. This opens up doors to ask each other for assistance or to more successfully solve problems together.

Ideas Formulate

Spending time together interacting outside of work allows our team to feel more comfortable with each other and with me. Because we actually love what we do, inevitably conversations turn to design. This is when I see our team begin to express ideas and opinions and affirm one another in his or her strengths and talents. Often, these ideas shared over a team lunch or a company trip will influence the direction of projects or procedures when we return to the office.

JAI would not be where we are today if it weren’t for the men and women who come in each day and share their skills and vision with our clients, with each other, and with me. When our team takes time to connect with each other and form strong bonds together, we STOP WORKING and simply START DOING WHAT WE LOVE!