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Five must-dos to pull off a successful company retreat

By Rachel Flynn
on

Corporate hotel suites and cringe-worthy team builders are things of the past, *sheds a tear.* As companies evolve to suit remote and hybrid systems, work retreats are revolutionising with them.

With face-to-face interactions no longer the workday norm, it’s more important than ever to make the most of your company retreat. We’ve put together our top tips and tricks to make sure it’s a success.

1. Encourage employee input 💬

If you want employees to actively engage with the retreat, what better way than to involve them in the process?

Before the search begins, find out what inspires your staff and act accordingly.

Make a retreat-specific channel in Slack or Teams and use it to share ideas and create polls, ensuring staff can stay engaged with the process and have their say. This will streamline any logistical issues and create a space for inspiration.

Not sure if everyone will be up for an early morning hike? Find out what works best for your employees through simple polls where you can discuss options for activities, meals or workshops. While too much choice may cause further complications, it’s important to make sure your staff feel heard in the decision-making process.

Collaborating on ideas before the retreat will mean team building activities are a walk in the park.

2. Choose the right destination 🌎

Are you a company used to the buzz of a bustling city, who would benefit from some unpolluted air and a mountain landscape? Perhaps some of your employees dreamed of visiting a certain landmark, and you have the means to take them there.

Tom Priestley from Paired, an interactive couples app, told us about his own experience planning a retreat.

“You can’t just go anywhere, you’ve got to choose somewhere that will really excite the team. There was definitely some nervousness about making it something everyone would enjoy.”

Every company is unique and choosing the correct destination can feel like a weighty task.

To help you make the perfect choice, pick a place that helps your team feel connected to your company. For example, if your company is based in a specific country but you have an international workforce, why not bring them to experience the culture where your company was born?

But remember, a perfectly suited location is nothing without wifi, and basic needs like enough rooms and means to suit different dietary requirements must be met. The right destination is practical, with a special little link to your company or workforce.

3. Play hard, work hard: the 20/30/50 approach ⚡️

So, how much work do you do in a company retreat? Not a lot, says Chase Warrington — Head of Remote at Deloitte. Though professional growth and structure is key, social interaction and flexibility are a must. Chase suggests the 20/30/50 approach: 20% of the time committed to work, 30% planned social activities and 50% free and rest time. The latter, he proposes, is where the magic happens; organic conversations creating meaningful relationships.

Just think, why are you really bringing your team together? You already know how your employees work, so let them play and the results will speak for themselves.

During our own research, first-time retreat organisers admitted to overpacking schedules, leaving employees burned out and stressed. We propose all involved leave the retreat feeling refreshed, committed and connected.

4. Get feedback from everyone involved 📣

No matter how successful the retreat, spend some time requesting feedback. This will let you see the value of a retreat and understand where you can improve next time. Allow your employees to be critical through anonymous surveys, because nothing is perfect.

5. Find the perfect accommodation 🏨

Company retreats shouldn’t feel like an obligatory chore for employees — quite the opposite. A huge part in avoiding this feeling is making sure they are not left with the organising — making staff claim back the costs later is an unnecessary step for all involved.

One of the hardest parts of organising a retreat is finding the right accommodation. Anne Crawford, from frontline employee platform Sona, told us:

“Finding inspiring and unique places to house all the team in one place is incredibly tough. And it’s arguably the most important aspect of making the retreat a success! Airbnbs are ruled out most of the time because they don’t have enough room, and a lot of the hotels out there can be really boring.”

Through our carefully crafted directory, Basejam removes the painful, frustrating bits about booking a retreat, letting you discover the very best accommodation available.

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