THE woman dubbed the “best boss in Britain” after a Daily Echo story went national has told why she decided to take her staff to Madrid for a Christmas party.

Arabella Lewis-Smith, founder and managing director of Poole-based branding agency Salad, took all 20 staff to the Spanish capital for three days.

After a report in the Echo, the story was picked up by five national newspapers, international news sites and the website Ladbible. It had been shared more than 25,000 times at last count, while Ms Lewis-Smith was invited onto Radio 5 Live, to discuss Christmas parties alongside a professor of organisational behaviour.

Ms Lewis-Smith said she had been “gob-smacked” by the attention the story received.

“We are certainly not the first business to take their team away for a staff party, and whilst our story somehow caught wind due to its timely nature and feel-good factor, there is a more poignant element to it,” she said.

“We, like any business, but especially agencies, are the sum of our parts. So looking after our people is quite simply good business.”

She added: “There are countless benefits of a happy team. Our Christmas party is a chance for us to show how much we value our people, and make memories that will instil positive associations with their time and commitment to Salad.

“The benefits don’t stop with the team because (just as importantly) the business benefits too. It’s a truth well known that you get out what you put in, and the same rule applies to our people. By treating the team to something special to them, we will benefit from a happier and more satisfied crew who feel valued and appreciated.”

She said the approach would not necessarily be right for another business, adding: “In order to create something suited to your team, you need to be sensitive and in-tune with your unique business makeup.”

She said: “I’m extremely lucky. While I take my role and responsibilities very seriously, I don’t feel like a ‘boss’ at all. I love the people I work with and I want to spend time with them. I’m not Salad – we are all Salad.

“We spend half of our waking hours with people we work with. So to take one weekend out of 52 to spend time together ‘off the clock’ feels like a worthwhile thing to do.”

She added: “The business case for a party like Christmas in Madrid is significant. It’s not about making a flashy statement that grabs the headlines; it’s about creating the right type of experience to facilitates the time and space your team needs to make long-lasting connections. As far as we’re concerned it will pay for itself in the months and years to come, by encouraging an already hard-working team.”

The company is holding a series of events next year called Building a Beautiful Business, where brands will share stories of “ambition, craftsmanship, authenticity and innovation”.