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How to Plan the Best Company Retreat

If you’re looking into increasing your employee engagement, getting everyone refocused and reenergized while increasing team collaboration, a corporate retreat may be your best choice.
How to Plan the Best Company Retreat
Thinking of getting out into the sun and out of your home for the retreat? Keep on reading!

If you’re looking into increasing your employee engagement, getting everyone refocused and reenergized while increasing team collaboration, a corporate retreat may be your best choice.


What is a Company Retreat?

“Company retreat” is something that everyone understands but only a few can define. To put it simply, it is an event that your entire company can attend that is out of the office and is not entirely focused on work. Most importantly, it should strike as the perfect balance of work and fun and shouldn’t feel like a typical office meeting that just happens in a new location.

Corporate retreats give you the chance to clarify your company’s goals and missions, employee roles, and your company culture while offering a team bonding experience outside of the office. It can also improve morale and motivate your entire staff, making them a worthwhile investment.

Most retreats can be multi-day events, but it’s absolutely possible to host a single-day retreat that spans the length of the day that’s located close enough to the office that everyone can go home after (or even virtual, for that matter). There’s no need for a company retreat to cost a lot of money to rake in the benefits of it -- a day-long investment is all you need to demonstrate you prioritize your company’s culture.


Why are Retreats important and how can your team benefit from it?

Getting away from the stressful atmosphere of the workplace can do us a world of good. It allows your team to regroup and rediscover their passion for work and when they return, their stress levels will be lower and they’ll have the energy to work as hard as necessary without sacrificing quality. 

While retreats are used to refine things such as the company’s mission or vision, the main point is to give your employees the opportunity to bond with each other and increase productivity. That’s why we compiled a few things on how your team can benefit from it:


  1. Re-energizes your team members towards their outlook at work.

 It is beneficial for your team members to make them happy and enthusiastic in their job and will give them the sense of reconnecting with others after a long exhausting work. Being in a stress-free environment with their colleagues also encourages them to regain themselves and feel energized.


  1. Repairs old conflicts or rifts among team members.

Let’s get real, not everyone in your team gets along well every day. At one point or another, conflicts or issues cannot be avoided, be it big or small, on a personal level or with regards to their work. Company retreats are one of the best avenues to repair and stitch these conflicts. Activities in a company retreat include those interactions that can give an opportunity for both parties to cross the bridge of misunderstanding.


  1. Encourages team members to show off their hidden talents. 

This works for everyone. Company retreats make you discover amazing talents a team member never showed in the office. A shy member might be in fact good at acting, singing, or dancing. Your very serious boss could be a joker, or a chef, or can do splits. The underlying talents of an individual sometimes flourish during company retreats. And giving yourself a break from all the office work and having time to unwind will also let you discover something good about one another.


  1. Directs team members towards a common shared goal. 

Since retreats are to rebuild teamwork and camaraderie, tasks are done to complete a common goal. These kinds of activities allow your team to work effectively as one and is a fun tool to learn.


  1. Nurtures personal relationships with colleagues. 

Company retreats give you an opportunity to mingle and share experiences and ideas with team members you don’t usually talk with every day in the office. They can freely express their true self when they’re relaxed, which makes communication more natural and genuine. It also allows everyone to develop real personal relationships with each other which help with treating each other professionally.


  1. Promotes life and balance. 

Participating in a retreat helps you and your team members unwind after work and gives you a healthier work perspective.


  1. Sees the great benefits of company retreats. 

Once your team gets the benefits mentioned, rest assured that when they report for work the next day, they’ll be productive as you expect them to be. Feeling rejuvenated will make them get back on track and be competitive in contributing to the company’s mission and vision.


Company Retreat Ideas


Now that you’re sold on the benefits of company retreats for your team members, check these few ideas on where to bring your team members. These might answer your questions on the logistics, how often they can happen and how to know it’s the right time to have a company retreat. Don’t worry though - there isn’t a perfect company retreat, but by aligning them with critical moments will be able to keep your team members happier during tough times. So here are a few ideas for you: 


Go to a farm.

Take your team out to a no-frills environment and enjoy the unique way to get your team collaborating. Think about this – when you remove offices, titles, and role descriptions, everyone in a simple environment gets to see one another completely free of hierarchy and pecking orders. 

Camping.

Camping can be a great opportunity to learn to work together in different ways with the right equipment and weather conditions. Activities such as hiking, building campfires and perhaps even swimming allow team members to intermingle. Plus, heading outdoors and pitching tents is a whole new adventure.

Take advantage of a conference. 

When there’s a major conference in your area or nearby that the majority of the company is attending, take the chance and grab it for your company retreat to save on travel costs. 

Go talent-sourcing. 

Another surefire way is to source hobbies and activities your team members can engage in outside of work. If your team has a yoga or meditation specialist or an expert knitter that’s on the sales team, you can lean into your internal resources and enable them to lead a workshop on their interest. Doing so will not only up level them and their hobbies, they get to demonstrate their hobbies and skills that don't necessarily connect with their desk job. You might be surprised at how much you learn from one another!

Stay local. 

You and your team members don’t necessarily have to travel and you can always stay within your city. You can consider hosting your company retreat at a local hotel that has a killer pool and great restaurants – it’ll feel just as much as a company retreat that’s out of town.


How to plan for your next Company Retreat


How do you take 100 people with different tastes, requirements and preferences and successfully plan for food, fun, and ways to recharge that they’ll all enjoy? Providing a variety and choice will result in maximum happiness and a trip everyone will remember. Allow us to take the burden off your shoulder and give you tips on planning something memorable: from setting a budget, picking a location, finding a place, and listing activities your team members will love. 


Costs

Retreats don't have to break the bank. One thing to consider is your company size and where you want to go. If it’s your company’s first time, it’s best to start small. Another thing is to travel in the off-season to save a considerable amount and to stay somewhere close to a major airport. 

An example is to rent a few houses and keep things simple. Then you can step it up and stay on a ranch for the next one then to a resort for the next. Aim your budget to a certain amount and carefully estimate flight costs, accommodations, meals and incidentals up to the AV costs, airport transfers, and gratuities. 


Date

Once you’ve chosen the dates, everything else will fall into place, so the farther in advance you set the date, the better. The more people on your team, the farther in advance you need to set the date. If your team consists of ten members, you can set a date 2 months out or if you're a hundred or more, it’s best to set the date anything between 6 months to a year in advance.

Some important steps that you can consider:

  • Choose the length (typically between 2 and 7 days)
  • Choose 3 different options
  • Create a spreadsheet or a form where everyone can share which date options don’t work for them
  • Choose the option that the least amount of people can’t attend

As soon as the dates are chosen, announce them to the team so they can block out their calendars. You also have to keep in mind the fact that some people won’t be able to attend and that’s okay. 


Location

Traveling to a five-star tropical resort that’s only accessible by helicopter might seem very appealing, it’s very important to consider getting to the retreat location as the retreat itself. Locations near major airports and within a short drive helps your team members feel relaxed and happy that they’re about to spend time with their colleagues and you wouldn’t want someone on your team to get motion sickness, so less travel time is a good thing to consider.

If you have team members all over the world, it’s also nice to switch up locations. That way, you can take turns in longer versus shorter flights. You need to make sure that all of your team members can safely travel and will be admitted without any hassle to any countries you’re traveling to. Other things to consider are the weather (if you want to go somewhere warmer or cooler); if travel visas are required or not; and the quality of wifi in most lodgings & cafes (a must!). 

You’ll also want to have clear guidelines if you’re including your team members’ significant others and/or kids. If it’s a short, nearby retreat, it’s acceptable to request your team members not to bring their significant others, but for longer retreats that are far, far away you can give them the option to bring them or not.  You might also want to consider alternative lodgings in case team members do bring their loved ones. Keep in mind that cities will have more options for them to book a lodging nearby than a remote area, for example.


Goals for the retreat

The budget, date, and location are all set. Now what?

Goals. Set goals for this retreat. Before you plan the daily activities, make sure you’re very clear on the main purpose of the event, and the planning will be much easier and more successful. 

Once goals are set, plan your activities around these goals. If you want your retreat to have one part reward, and one part a brainstorming marathon, you’ll want to schedule plenty of time for fun activities as well as comfortable brainstorming sessions.

If your goal is to bring people together, you can plan hikes, physical activities, tours, and delicious dinners. You can ignite creative geniuses in your team by booking coworking centers to have 1:1 chats about problems they’re trying to solve. If you want your goal to remove barriers and clean up inconsistencies in communication, you can try to structure team-building activities where everyone shares their vision for the company or reflect on what they learned last year.


Set a free time

Now you’ve set the goals - it’s time to bake in relaxation and rejuvenation time. This is important! If you’ve overbooked your plans for the retreat, chances are your team members might get exhausted from spending time with others (especially the introverts). It’s important to dedicate free time to allow team members to retreat to their room or venture out on their own and regain their energy.


Don’t sweat the small stuff

Let’s face it - something will always go wrong during the retreat, and that’s totally okay. Don’t stress over every little detail. After all, you’re here to enjoy yourself, unwind, and relax. 



Now you’re all set for the perfect company retreat!

What you should do now

Whenever you're ready...here are a few ways we can help you:

1. Book a team social event. If you'd like to work with us to have more engaging team events, book an event.

Don't know what activity to pick? Use the Team Building Idea Generator for options.

2. If you'd like to learn remote work strategies for free, head to our blog where you'll find several guides and posts.

3. If you'd like to create a offering for companies for a skill that you have, then contact us and let us know.

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