Ah… Corporate retreats. Those bastions of chocolate bar wrappers, stale muffins and even staler coffee, lost business cards, and jet lag. It’s not hyperbole to say that when company bosses announce the dates for the annual company retreat, many employees groan inwardly. The worst of these events feel very stuffy and corporate. This adds to the feeling that these events are endurance races rather than an opportunity to create a thriving and creative culture of success.
The question is: Does it have to be that way? Do corporate retreats have to be something your employees endure rather than enjoy? We don’t think so.
Company Annual Planning: Why Off-Site Corporate Retreats?
Before we dive deep into our corporate event tips, you should know why it’s in your best interest to plan an off-site retreat.
While off-site company events have always been important, they’ve grown in importance since the pandemic sent workers home. The difference today is that the pandemic gave them an opportunity to take a long, hard look at their lives.
Because of this, people have begun re-evaluating how they want to spend their days. As Forbes put it, “The days of going into the office just for the sake of it are well and truly over.”
As such, giving employees space to have meaningful hybrid/remote team meetups has become vitally important. Planned correctly, these events stop feeling like corporate retreats. Instead, they feel like opportunities for engagement and even a bit of fun.
Corporate Event Ideas: Making Your Events Feel Less “Corporate”
Planning Your Company Events: Choose the Right Location
When planning events for your hybrid remote team, keep your audience in mind when choosing a location for your company event.
Remember that many employees have spent the last two years at home. They’ve gotten used to making lunch when they’re hungry. They take 15-minute walks around their neighborhood to stretch their legs. Honestly, they probably check Facebook a couple of times a day, too.
The right location replicates the home environment they’ve grown accustomed to. It allows them to move around in the fresh air when they need to or to take a snack break in the middle of the day.
Ideally, it even affords them opportunities to sit on the grass for a few minutes or hang out at a firepit after work and shoot the breeze with their workmates. In other words, it should be a place that gets them away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
That said, remote company retreats feel stifling if they’re too far away from “civilization.” Even paradise feels a bit like a prison if you can’t leave. That’s really one thing that the stay-at-home orders taught a lot of people. The idea of staying at home is great until you have to.
Here Are Some On-Site Amenities to Look For
Comfortable Meeting Spaces
While it’s nice to think that a corporate retreat is like a working vacation, the reality is that you still need to work, at least a little.
Here, again, it’s good to keep in mind that people have been working at home, so the place you choose for your hybrid/remote team meetups needs to give people a lot of wiggle room.
Ideally, the space should allow you to work freely, whether doing company production ideation, annual planning, or spearheading a new project.
The space for your meetings/ events also needs to be functional. That is, it needs to allow for:
- Multimedia presentations
- Offer connections for laptops, phones, etc.
- Wireless Internet access
- Different seating arrangements
- Space to move around
- Microphones and a good sound system
- Kitchens for coffee and snacks
- Banquet space
Offers Afterhours Events and Activities
The cool thing about doing a destination corporate retreat is that it gives you access to many different activities.
Here are some possible ideas for after-hour and team-building activities:
- Golf, either in small groups, or in charity outing
- On-site spa and yoga activities
- Bike riding and hiking
- UTV adventures
- Archery course
- Lake activities like paddle boats
- Tennis and other court games
Readily Available Meals and Snacks
Often, one of the most memorable aspects of a company event is the gourmet food options. When choosing a work retreat location, choose a place with a wide variety of food options.
- A pub for casual meet-ups
- Fine dining options
- A grille for lunch between rounds of golf
- Cabins or workspaces with kitchens
Other Tips for Your Company Retreat
For many employees, corporate events equal boredom, long meetings, and stiff joints that require numerous chiropractor visits to correct. They don’t have to be that way. The best company events inspire employees to do better once they leave the event.
Here are some corporate event ideas to include in your off-site event:
- Dynamic guest speaker: Ideally, this is someone that your employees wouldn’t get access to usually and who would make attending an off-site meeting worthwhile.
- Include games and other participation activities: It can be games, escape rooms, storytelling, and more.
- Hire some entertainment: Hire comedy teams, acting troupes, and more to come to your events. The best ones can work with you to provide your employees with breaks between sessions.
- Don’t skimp on the snacks: Yes, we joked about candy wrappers and stale coffee, but the fact is, meetings are often hungry work. Include various snack options to keep people awake during those long presentations. Vegetable trays and cheeseboards are great options that are also healthy.
- Get them moving: Aside from being bad for you, sitting for too long stifles creativity. Avoid trying to push too much talk into one session. Give attendees time to take short walks, take a quick bike ride, or even go for a horseback or UTV ride.
Final Thoughts on Creating Cool Company Events
Your corporate events can be something that your employees — even the remote ones who’d rather stay home — look forward to and want to participate in. Much of the time, this comes down to choosing the right location and planning the right activities.
If you’d like to book a spot that gets your team away from the hustle and bustle of life, but still offers you plenty of options, contact us for a proposal today!