Whether you work remotely, in person, or a little of both, corporate retreats are a powerful way to strengthen company culture, build genuine relationships and show support toward team members.
Retreats are also a fantastic way to escape the 9-to-5 work week and reset. They help to break up the monotony of the office grind and allow coworkers to connect in fresh environments.
You can put meetings, conference calls, product reviews, and projects on pause for a while and reap big rewards for your team IF you invest in strategic, innovative corporate event planning.
Determine Your Company Goals
When it comes to planning a corporate retreat, don’t wing it. Put the time in and plan appropriately. The first step is determining your company’s goals and desired outcomes for the event.
What’s the purpose of this retreat? Maybe you want to reflect on your year or reward your team for a job well done. Maybe you want to boost their morale or build cohesion. Company retreats are especially great for organizations that may feel like a collection of individual strangers instead of a united front. They can eradicate awkwardness and tension and build a true team.
Just make sure that your company retreat isn’t all about work. You’ll want to incorporate fun, relaxation, bonding, and downtime.
As award-winning corporate event organizers, we’d like to share our top tips for kicking off a corporate retreat that can’t be beaten.
Choose a Date
The time of year and location will set the tone of your retreat before it even begins. Specific areas are great only during certain months. If you’re planning to spend a lot of time outdoors on your retreat, you’ll want nice weather, unless it’s a ski trip!
Choose a date that won’t interfere with family activities. (Steer clear of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.) You should also avoid busy seasons at the office. If you’re an accounting business, for example, stay away from the first few months of the year due to tax season.
Send Out a Save-the-Date
Trust us on this one: don’t spring the news of your retreat on your team at the last minute. They have lives outside the office that may be tricky to plan around on a crunch. Depending on your group size, we recommend planning at least six months in advance. This includes booking venues, lodging, and activities to ensure availability.
When you get the word out early, your employees will know not to book meetings during the retreat dates. Some may need to arrange childcare and/or pet sitters. People appreciate a heads-up in advance, and you’ll reap the benefits of a better turnout.
Book a Venue
Make sure the venue feels like an escape. Small groups may consider a lovely AirBnB that everyone shares. Make sure to get enough rooms for each person to have their own. You may consider a hotel or resort if you have a larger group.
No matter what venue you choose, plan activities that do not take place in a boring conference room. Remember, this should not feel like the office!
Depending on your venue, you might need to provide off-site lodging for everyone. In that case, you’ll want to ensure the lodging isn’t too far from the venue for convenience. If your team is driving to the retreat in their cars, it may not matter much. However, if they’re taking public transportation or a flight to the retreat, make sure it’s easy for everyone to get from their room to the venue.
If you’re planning a retreat, it’s your job to plan a way for your employees to get to and from the retreat and to and from their rooms if they still need their cars. If the venue is close to home, then employees can carpool with each other or rent a shuttle or bus. Make sure you work out all the details and let your team know.
If you’re booking flights for everyone, you’ll also need to organize car rentals, Uber, or shuttle services. Planning transportation will ensure a smooth ride!
Plan the Food or Catering
There’s one thing almost everyone has in common: a love of food. Be diligent in planning good meals for your retreat. Sharing a good meal can enhance an experience and create the perfect bonding opportunity.
Will there be a buffet at your hotel? Will you have catered meals? Go out to eat? A cooking class may be a great team-building activity with a delicious payoff. A private chef will take your retreat to the next level if you’re staying at an Airbnb.
Orchestrate the Activities
Activities and food are what people care most about. And it’s not quite a corporate retreat without some empowering, fun team-building activities and icebreakers. You may even opt for challenging exercises that test your team’s physical or intellectual limits. Or you may want some fun and stress-free activities.
Some ideas include:
- A ropes course
- Zip lining
- White water rafting
- An Escape Room
- Karaoke Night
- Art Class
- Team Scavenger Hunt
- Team Sports
Organize Work Sessions
Your retreat should be mostly fun, but you may have to pull out the laptops at some point. Make sure your retreat spaces have what you need for quick work sessions, including comfortable workspaces, Wi-Fi, and spacious meeting rooms.
Since you’re in a new environment and don’t have meetings to get to, kids to pick up, or traffic to beat, you can have fun and stay relaxed while you get some work done with your team. This is also an excellent opportunity for remote workers to collaborate in person.
Create a Post-Retreat Survey
Nobody loves constructive criticism, but it’s the only way to help us grow and rearrange for future retreats. You don’t know how well it went until you ask those who were there.
Send them a post-retreat survey with questions rating different elements of their experience. Keep it anonymous for more honest results. Apply their feedback for the next retreat that will knock them off their feet (in a good way). You only know if you ask. Your employees will appreciate your listening to them and acting on their suggestions.
Well-executed corporate retreats are fantastic. Corporate retreats planned poorly may do more harm than good. Planning a good retreat takes a lot of time, creativity, and organization. Start with our list above, and you’ll be on your way to a memorable corporate retreat.
Your business is unique, so choose options based on your team’s needs and interests. Try to include something for everyone and make sure you accommodate disabilities and/or food restrictions. Show your team that you took the extra time to make this a memorable and welcoming retreat for all.
As corporate event planners in D.C., Dallas, and Los Angeles, we’ve got all the tips and tricks for a special getaway outside the office. Contact us for a consultation.
Corporate getaways are an influential way to enhance culture, develop sincere connections, and demonstrate support for team members, whether you work remotely or in person. If you engage in savvy, creative corporate event planning, you can temporarily put meetings, conferences, and projects on hold while capitalizing on your team greatly.