10 December 2017

ukfast at christmas friends and family

The team getting into the festive spirit!

As the piano played and kids lined up to get their gift from Santa, it all became clear that these are the moments that matter in life and in business. Looking around the room, it is hard to believe that the mass of people are all a part of the UKFast Family. I still see us as this small group from the early days!

Now there are hundreds of us. On Friday night, at our annual Friends and Family get-together, the office was taken over by the loved ones of our team.

It is without doubt my number one event of the year. Whilst UKFest is great fun and our Christmas party is certainly memorable, there is a magic about our Friends and Family night like no other.

It’s a night when parents bring their little ones, although some of our children are growing up fast! It’s also an opportunity to bring in your other half, your grandparents and your friends – everyone is welcome!

For those of you who’ve not read about this event before, we bring in a pianist to play festive songs (an old college friend of mine who I met in Salford 30-something years ago), we have mulled wine and plenty of food, and we ask Father Christmas to come along with gifts for the children too. And, for the past two years, we’ve been joined by some of Santa’s reindeer too. It’s the perfect way to kickstart the festive season for me and my family.

Friends and Family at UKFast

Standing there watching the queue snake the length of reception with children waiting to speak to the man in the sleigh and get a present, it is incredibly special to see how kids light up and to feel the energy in the room. It’s incredible to see how many have joined the collective family at UKFast in the past year. It felt twice the size. 

I couldn’t help but laugh at seeing the sheer number of babies passed from one person to the next, everyone bursting for a cuddle! Or at Kelly’s daughter Eve running around with a puppy on a stick that she’d received from Santa, leaving a path of destruction in her wake!

arlene at ukfast friends and family

Arlene, who is currently on maternity leave, with new arrival Bonnie.

To receive the “thank yous” with those knowing nods from parents when saying goodbye after a genuinely special occasion for their little ones – if you have kids you will know what I mean – it means the world.   

As a growing business it is becoming a growing challenge to get to know everyone in the team personally; that was something I had always prided myself upon. Now, with 400 across all of the businesses, it is almost impossible. Events like Friends and Family make that challenge just a bit easier. It’s lovey how many people came up to me and introduced themselves for the first time. It must be my electric Christmas jumper that Gail ‘encourages’ me to wear! 

I was able to chat with parents, children, other halves, best friends, neighbours – even their dogs – to get to know each member of the team a little better.

Opening Doors

There’s absolutely no business benefit to being a CEO who hides behind an office door at all times. It is so easy to become caught up in the goings on of the business and forget what really matters. There is no amount of distraction that will prevent me from doing the things that matter most. 

Thank you to the UKFast team for such a wonderful evening on Friday, after all, it’s the team who make this possible. Let’s carry on the fun with Star Wars on Thursday!

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