Say the words “corporate retreat,” and watch your employees hide behind their desks. Or if they’re still largely remote, watch their Zoom screens go dark. Unfortunately, due to the upfront costs and a sometimes less-than-enthusiastic attitude, many company bosses mistakenly believe that holding a company retreat just isn’t worth it.
We’re here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be the case. Granted, there are some challenges that come with planning events for your hybrid/remote team, but the problems aren’t insurmountable if you employ the right strategies.
If you’re thinking about planning one or more corporate retreats in the near future, you’ll appreciate these corporate event ideas.
Challenges With Company Annual Planning: Why so Many Dislike Corporate Retreats
First, let’s just deal with the elephant in the room. Plenty of people say that they hate corporate retreats, and honestly, many of them have good reason to. While the reasons are myriad, we’ll concentrate on the ones that are most applicable at the moment.
For one thing, there is an issue of personality clashes. In other words, if you don’t like your co-workers and dread spending time with them at the office, then the feeling is likely to be magnified about 10 times if you’re forced to go to an enclosed location where you can’t escape from them for a week.
For another thing, many people have spent the last several years working remotely. Many of their colleagues now feel like — or in the case of new employees, are — virtual strangers.
While that is often the case when large companies get together for big company events, the feeling seems exacerbated now that so many people’s social skills have grown rusty due to a lack of personal interaction. It could be the case that hybrid/remote team meetups are just the thing that the doctor ordered to remedy this issue.
However, the law of inertia definitely comes into play here. In other words, being social with your co-workers is like building a muscle. It can get out of shape if you don’t use it. And for many, the last place they want to try building that muscle back up is at a corporate retreat.
Corporate Event Tips: How You Can Make Your Company Retreat Better
Some of this will come down to planning. If you’re the person doing the planning, then be mindful of the issues above. For example, if you’re planning several group activities where people have to work together for extended amounts of time, try to mix the groups up a bit throughout the course of the retreat. This gives people an opportunity to meet new people and to get away from people they may not care for.
Conversely, it gives people the chance to see their co-workers in a different light. They may discover, for example, that they misjudged their co-workers. Friendships may blossom in unexpected places, which can only pay dividends back in the workplace.
Additionally, the best corporate retreats offer a mix of both fun and work. If anything, we’d recommend having maybe a 60% – 40% split of non-work-to-work events. In other words, plan more time for play and relaxation and less time for work.
If this seems like a waste of money, think of it this way. Your team already works while they’re at home. You’re asking them to pick up for three days to a week, possibly find childcare they can’t afford, and be with people they may not like for a retreat they feel weary about.
Perhaps, one of the best things you can do is to suggest that they play together a bit. A round or two on the golf course where they laugh as friends may be the best thing you’ve done for company production ideation in a long time. It’s a fact that some of a person’s best ideas come while they’re relaxing.
We often joke about how our best ideas come in the shower, but there is some science behind this. Being relaxed allows dopamine to flow. It also gives the conscious mind time to relax so that the subconscious mind can work on the problem.
Although it seems counterintuitive, spending your time relaxing and having fun during much of your corporate retreat may be the best productivity booster your staff has had in a long time.
Corporate Retreat Ideas: Where to Hold Your Event
In light of our last point, we’d like to suggest that you book your corporate event at a place that facilitates an optimal work environment, while providing you with ample play opportunities at the same time.
In light of that, you may want to look for a facility that can offer you:
- Spacious meeting rooms with modern meeting technologies, like touch-screens and AV controls
- Ample laptop and electronics connections for all
- A strong wireless internet connection
- Video conferencing options
- Microphones and sound systems
- On-site kitchens for breaks, with the ingredients for snacks and coffee
- Outside break areas where employees can walk around between meetings
In terms of allowing you and your team to take breaks and have fun, you may want to consider a site that offers:
- Golf packages – with plenty of tee times, so all golfers get a chance to play
- Hiking, biking, and yoga opportunities
- Pedal boating and other water-based activities
- An on-site spa
- On-site painting or art classes
- UTV and sporting adventures
- Time to hang out at the fire pit and just chill with friends
- Culinary classes and dining options
There’s also one more thing we would add. The best destinations for corporate retreats are also located near a town or a city. For those of your employees who’d like to hang out at a coffee shop and enjoy some real Southern hospitality or stop by a bonafide antique store, this is also a nice option to consider, too.
Final Words on Planning Your Next Corporate Retreat
While it’s true that company retreats sometimes get a bad rap, that doesn’t have to be the case. In the post-COVID world, a well-planned, productive, and most of all, fun company retreat may be just what your team needs to recharge their batteries. It also gives them an opportunity to reconnect and possibly make new friends.
Finally, given how stressful the past several years have been, a company event that gives employees a chance to truly relax and just be will likely pay dividends that cannot be measured.
If you’re interested in holding a corporate retreat and would like to learn more, reach out to us for a quote. We’d love to help you revitalize your hybrid/remote teams!