After 2020, more and more positions have gone online and people have had to redefine their routines and find their balance in this new normal.
For those of us who can still meet on a regular basis, the health situation still impacted the way we get together in a professional setting and has changed the way we work together.
More than ever, paying attention to the teams moral, well being and level of motivation is of the essence.
A great way to reboot and refresh, to find new inspiration and reconnect is to change your scenery and expand your horizon. As soon as you can, make sure to take your team on a company retreat!
Company retreats can sometimes be seen as tacky and boring but when they are organized well and for the right reasons, they are a wonderful opportunity to:
Develop friendships between colleagues in a more relax setting
Get to know people in a different way
Get the newest recruits to meet everyone and feel included
Increase creativity. No better way to think "outside the box" than actually being outside the box
Encourage collaborations between people or departments who/that do not usually work together
Increase attachment and loyalty to the company/brand
Re-motivate the team to achieve the goals of the year
Re assert the values/goals of the company
Encourage more and better communication
Create more trust between team members through the different activities
Ok. Great. But how does it work? Well, there are definitely a few things to think about as you plan your team retreat:
Think about the length. We like to think that anything shorter than 4 days does not really give your employees the time to fully relax and show what they are made of.
Think about the location. It should not be too far that it takes two days to get there, but far enough so your team feels a change of scenery
Think about the weather. If you are planning outdoor activities (and you should) , best to pick a place and time that allows for spending time outside without freezing, burning or drowning
Think about activities. It's not just about getting away, circling the buffets and trying to stay awake during the afternoon keynote. Retreat should be fun and unleash creativity. Unlike any other day at the office, get your people moving! Challenge them to try new activities, to discover new paths, to hike, climb, canoe, dive, take a cooking class, put on a show, organize a scavenger hunt... the possibilities are endless. The only thing to remember is that these should be group activities to encourage bonding and communication between team members.
Think about content. Obviously it is not just about running around and playing games. You should have a clear agenda with a clear goal and make sure some time is dedicated to workshops, brainstorming, feedback session and/or mastermind. But take the opportunity of the "out of office" setting to try and do things a bit differently.
Think about amenities: Make sure the place you decide to stay at can host your team comfortably with good wifi and coworking space.
Think about food. "those that eat together more frequently, exhibit higher levels of communitas" said Grace Kim, Architect and resident of a cohousing in Canada. (Communitas refers to a sense of community).
Think about alone time: spending 24/7 with the people you usually only see at the office, or on zoom, can become quite overwhelming. Make sure there is enough time in the program for people to wind down and gather their thoughts and reflection on the day before jumping on a new group activity.
Think about the aftermaths. "What happened at X stays at X" does not apply here. On the contrary. Make sure to act and "capitalize" on all the learnings, inspiration, breakthroughs, feedback that were exchanged during the retreat. Take the time to identify what went well and what needs working on. Ask for feedback and...