It is possible to picture a field research station as a group of young animal lovers who believe they can save the world, sitting round a fire every night singing songs. This may be true in some ways, and a social night around an open fire is never a bad thing. However, in reality field stations are intensive work environments where you are put in close living quarters with strangers from around the world. You have to adapt quickly and be tolerant to each persons little quirks. At LFP we all have different work schedules, nocturnal and diurnal shifts, and yo-yoing sleep patterns! It’s important then to find ways of keeping the team together and morale high in such a challenging environment.
Whilst back in England you might find yourself going on organised team building days to an assault course, or Christmas meals out, in the last few months at LFP I’ve found the most important thing to keeping everyone together is the little things that provide a bit of ‘normal daily life’. Whether its a standard dinner at the house laid out as a buffet that gets everyone queuing round the table, a Settlers of Catan scoreboard that makes for friendly competition (and encourages regular games…), a homemade Settlers expansion pack so that everyone can play at the same time, or a parent sending some home comforts like a box of Yorkshire tea bags (which when the kettle boils, pulls everyone away from their computers for 20 minutes) all of these simple pleasures help us relax and bring us together.
A surprising addition to that list appeared this week after we bought a new sofa. Anyone who follows our Facebook/Instagram or is friends of anyone here will have already seen multiple posts about this new bit of luxury! An item which at home would be considered so normal you wouldn’t think its a luxury, at our field station it has done wonders for the teams comradery already. A few extra spaces, soft material, and big cushions has made a super comfy working area, provided space for everyone to socialise, and is a cosy welcome when you return from a cold rainy night in the field!
I don’t think there’s any other place where a sofa would warrant its very own blog.
- Laura Beasley, Field Station Coordinator