March 30th, 7:46 am
Offsite team building can be essential when it comes to satisfying employees and improving overall productivity, but taking the plunge and investing in a corporate retreat can be overwhelming — not to mention time-consuming.
From selecting a destination, to finding catering, building an itinerary or just deciding whether or not such a trip is right for your company you suddenly find yourself facing questions you may have never considered before. Sitting down with a company that has experience arranging the perfect corporate retreat at no cost to you might mean leaving lots of important details out.
Planning a corporate retreat can be challenging. Here is a breakdown of how we tackle planning a successful corporate retreat!
Why are you bringing your team on a retreat? That’s the first question you should be asking yourself. From a company perspective, many companies like to bring their teams together for some unstructured time off from their day to day jobs or a chance to host brainstorming sessions with everyone in the same room. It’s not just about work and building stronger bonds - companies also use retreats as a way to foster team building and psychological safety among team members – whatever the case may be, hosts and attendees both need to know the real reason for hosting such sessions so that they can plan accordingly from the outset, including choosing events and activities that will have real meaning and value for everyone involved.
Budget: Location typically has a major impact on the price of a trip. If you’re only planning to allocate $2000/person, for example, Europe will be off the table as an option since an average flight from the U.S. runs around $1200 or higher depending on if you’re staying on either coast. It’s not that budget airlines don't exist in other countries, it's just that there aren't any major hubs for them available for international flights so you'll have to do some research about which airports would be most efficient to fly into with your desired airlines and book tickets from there instead.
Duration: Even though you may have the budget for an international trip, it may still not be enough time to complete your work in a country other than where your company is currently headquartered. It's safer to book a stay at least one week-long when travelling abroad to take into consideration any travel issues that can arise as well as the time difference between the state/ city and where you're travelling. For domestic trips, three nights and four days are sufficient.
Time of the Year (and location): Whenever you’re planning your travels, it is always a good idea to think through the time of year you are planning on going to the location because airfare and hotel prices go up during the peak seasons. For example, you would have to spend more if you plan on traveling to Vail, Colorado in February compared to July. The same is true for travelling to tropical locations like Jamaica - that too goes for high tourist periods with destinations surging during the winter months in the U.S.
Accommodation: For small teams under 10, Airbnb locations or tranquil villas are a great option. When there are between 10 and 50 team members, its smart to choose boutique hotels. When there are more than 50 people in your team, we recommend renting a section of a hotel or resort - or even an entire one!
Whether you’re fixing your company retreat for 1 day or 1 week, rest and refreshment is definitely something you want to achieve with the event. And if your team members are really going to get some rest from their 9-5 routine, they must be in a restful state of mind during the retreat.
Send reminders out early enough, and have your workers complete their pending tasks, especially tasks with close deadlines. Doing so will ensure that each person is fully present at your retreat and not worrying about the truckload of work that would greet them after the retreat.
Directly contacting a team-building company or concierge to arrange unique retreat ideas for you may seem like a proper thing to do. But if your members will enjoy every item on your agenda, then it would be best to hear from them.
As you budget and prepare for your company retreat, you can send out a poll and have everyone select the activities they want to be included in the retreat. After the poll, opt for the activities with the highest votes.
If your retreat will last more than one or two days and involves overseas travels, you may have a tough time tearing most workers away from their families. This is especially true for nursing mothers and parents of toddlers. They’d probably just see it as an avenue to spend more time with their families.
To ensure that no one has a good reason to be absent from your retreat, make room for family members to join in the retreat. You could cover flight tickets for children or pay a percentage of every spouse’s airfare. This also means that your accommodation and recreational activity choices would factor in children and non-employees.
If you work with a hybrid team, face-to-face encounters are vital for effortless collaborations, and a company retreat is an excellent place to begin. So, while planning your event, you have to find a way to bring your remote team into the picture.
However, if converging the entire team would be impossible, you’ll have to saturate your physical retreat with virtual activities to avoid leaving out your virtual team members.
Suppose a company-wide retreat would weigh down your budget. In that case, you can consider splitting the event into mini-retreats for different teams. However, note that this method may be costlier in the long run and does not present an avenue for broader collaborations, particularly among team members who do not often work together.
Do not assume that every member of your organization understands what you hope to achieve with your business retreats. Explain your objective in clear terms, even before you begin the event. Sending each participant a memo or the retreat’s agenda can go a long way in prepping them for achieving your intended goals.
However, since a company retreat is designed to incorporate rest and renewal into your structure, your objectives shouldn’t sound like a job description. You do not want your members acting like robots throughout your retreat.
If you work with a diverse team, ensure that your selected retreat activities are diverse and appropriate for all. If you’re arranging for a drinking session, ensure you have an alternative for your team members who do not drink. Also, keep to guidelines and regulations peculiar to your company and the European system.
Since you also aim to emphasize your company culture during your retreats, you can have mini-conferences and workshops a couple of times. During these conferences and workshops, you can broach unresolved issues, teach your employees something new, or reiterate your working culture and values for proper implementation.
Relaxation and rest cannot be complete if people do not find pleasure and excitement in the process. In the same way, your company retreat will be no different from the regular boardroom meetings and pitch decks if you exclude fun activities. So, in your planning, be deliberate about spicing up every activity to include sessions that stimulate laughter and playfulness in your team.
Irrespective of the activities you add to your company retreat ideas, it is important to keep each activity moderate. Try not to run your workshops to the point where your audience starts to sleep off on you. Also, schedule interesting ice-breakers every now and then; they will help keep your team alert and engaged.
Hey, we're Onsite.fun. We're determined to help you organize and manage team building events that your team will love.
We're Joan & Jaume, co-founders of Onsite.fun. Two brothers that joined forces to make distributed teams more united than in-office. Onsite.fun is your one-stop shop to manage and organize team-building events company wide. We find the most remarkable activities online and wrap them on a suite of tools that make them easy and convinient to book for distributed teams.
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