June 03, 2021 by Andrea Rajic

How To Plan A Company Offsite or Corporate Retreat

How To Plan A Company Offsite or Corporate Retreat

Table of contents


    What is a company retreat?


    What’s the purpose of company retreats?


    Does a virtual offsite event work?


    How to plan a company offsite


    Why plan a company offsite?

Employee Experience
Distributed Work

Are you looking for a way to help your team get to know each other, collaborate better, and keep their spirits up during challenging times? Whether you’re a remote company or your team members are all working in the same office or building, it’s vital to create a positive workplace atmosphere and a strong team if you want to be successful.

As an employer, not only do you need to build a good relationship with your workers, but it’s also a part of your job to ensure they’re working well together. Team buildings are a way to do just that. But do you want to make them even more memorable?

Planning a company offsite is an excellent way to remove yourself from the professional environment and relax for a moment. In this article, we’ll explain what a company offsite is, how to make the most out of it, and provide you with plenty of ideas on how to make your company retreat awesome.

What is a company retreat?

In a professional context, a retreat or offsite is an event organized by a company that typically involves executives and department heads who meet outside the workplace to talk about business.

However, today this term also has a broader meaning - it’s an event that gathers all the employees from a company, and business is not the only topic of the meeting. A company retreat aims to bring teams closer together, increase their morale, and improve teamwork among colleagues.

However, surveys have shown that only one in five companies actually uses this type of team building to improve their business. In fact, 73.4% of participants in a survey said they didn’t want or have a chance to be a part of a company retreat.

Does that mean more people should be educated on the benefits of a company offsite? We’ll tackle this question later in the article.

What’s the purpose of company retreats?

As mentioned, a company offsite can have several purposes.

  • Talk business

We already said many companies used these events to talk business, but why do it offsite when you have an office? Because an environment that’s not your office can help you remove the usual tension many people feel at work. That improves dialogue, and people will likely listen to each other more carefully when in more relaxed surroundings.

  • Learn more about each other

To grow a strong team, you need to know your employees’ personalities as well. Do they fit into your company culture? People are more than their resumes and professional skills, and their character is what they bring to work along with their knowledge. That’s why corporate retreats are an excellent opportunity for teams to learn more about the people they work with.

  • Have fun

You already know that all work and no play make your team dull. That’s why the purpose of a company retreat can also be to simply have fun. After all, when you let your mind relax, you open the door to creativity. It’s not unheard of that an excellent business idea came from a fun team-building event.

Does a virtual offsite event work?

Of course it does! Just because you can’t get everyone on your team in the same room, it doesn’t mean you can’t plan an exciting event. A virtual company offsite can be just as engaging and fun. It’s critical to plan a few months ahead and ensure you have adequate technical support for the event. If you have a remote team, this type of company offsite may be the only way to hold a team building. There are many virtual activities you can do together, from the company bingo or culture shows if you have people from different backgrounds to various contests and fun rewards.

How to plan a company offsite

If you’ve decided to organize a retreat, you may be wondering how to plan one. The logistics may seem overwhelming, but it shouldn’t be too challenging to get it right if you take it step by step. Here are a few aspects to consider when planning a company offsite.

Company retreat locations

What location you will choose may depend on your timing, goals, and team distribution. Bad weather can ruin a carefully planned event if you don’t have an indoor alternative, especially if your goal is to spend some time in nature. Camping is great, but if you’re planning a fall retreat, chances are there will be a lot of rain, so plan accordingly.

What’s the goal of your company offsite? If you’re looking to generate some great business ideas, look for venues with large conference rooms and all the necessary equipment. If your goal is to relax and recharge, a corner with unspoiled nature may work better.

Think about who’s going to attend the event, too. Is it only for executives or the whole company? Make sure the location is accessible to everyone, and if you’re planning to make it a two-day retreat or an even longer one, make sure you also book accommodation and transport, if necessary.

Finally, ensure that the venue you’ve chosen has good catering options. Depending on the size of your team, barbecuing may also be one of the activities you can do together.

Company retreat themes

To make your company offsite even more interesting, pick a theme. This way, you’ll be able to pick and organize all activities and games to align with the primary theme of your offsite.

You’ll easily choose a theme if you know what your offsite goals are. What are you hoping to achieve with this retreat? Better interpersonal relationships within your team? Improved individual performance of your team members?

If you want, for example, to make everyone feel more like a part of the team and help them understand the company’s values better, that can be a good theme for a retreat. You can plan your activities and speeches around that topic and add games that will boost team spirit and highlight the importance of teamwork.

Company retreat agenda

Even though you’re in an informal setting, you should have an agenda since you also have specific goals for the retreat. What’s essential for a good agenda? Remember these things:

  1. People’s focus will most likely be lower than in the office. Ensure the activities don’t last for too long - about an hour each is just fine.
  2. Plan plenty of breaks into the schedule. Your team will want a bit more freedom than at work, and they’ll need to recharge more often.
  3. Include activities in which all your employees will participate and plan for each department to have some separate games and tasks that will help them grow as a team.
  4. Include activities in which all your employees will participate and plan for each department to have some separate games and tasks that will help them grow as a team.
  5. Leave enough “free time” without any activities planned - you want to let your team reflect on what they’ve been doing all day.

Company retreat games

What’s a retreat without a few games? It’s what adds the final touch to your company offsite - the time when everyone can have fun, laugh, and wind down.

Include all kinds of games into your plan to match everyone’s personalities. There can be sports, games that require physical strength or fitness, as well as knowledge quizzes, Pictionary, trivia, cultural shows, and guessing games that will let your employees get to know each other better.

Why plan a company offsite?

You may experience plenty of benefits if you plan a team-building offsite. Here are some of them.

It builds interpersonal relationships.

Your team members will connect on a more human level. They will get to know each other better, which can help them collaborate more efficiently on future projects. Being offsite helps your team slow down when they usually have to run around the office during the workweek.

That doesn’t allow them to build many meaningful relationships with each other. But teams that have a chance to connect during company team-building events and retreats may perform better at work. Research showed that 15% of employees believe that occasional drinks with their teammates are an excellent employee benefit a company could offer.

It removes stress from the equation.

Even if you’ve planned business-related activities for your retreat, thinking about work when you’re not in your office may have a better outcome because of reduced stress.

A more informal setting helps employees relax and stop worrying about every word they’ll say or every deadline they have to meet. When they’re not overwhelmed with work-related tasks, they may be more open to suggestions and resolving any potential conflicts.

On the other hand, as an employer, you may be able to identify what your employees miss in the workplace to fulfill their optimal performance or find ways to reduce pressure in the office.

It provides a short break for everyone.

Being busy isn’t the same as being productive. And while being productive is everyone’s goal, it can’t happen if you don’t retreat once in a while and take a break. You see - even the phrase company retreat suggests what’s important. It’s no wonder most employees consider paid time off one of the most desirable benefits a company could provide.

Many people enjoy having a chat with their colleagues and supervisors, but doing it while on a retreat is an entirely new dimension. It gives everyone a chance to talk as equals and exchange ideas next to a pool rather than a water cooler.

It helps you learn more about your employees’ strengths.

Sometimes, you can learn more about a person by watching them in an informal setting than examining their resume.

A company offsite isn’t only about business meetings. During company retreats, people usually engage in plenty of fun and educational activities. Not only does that help your team relax, but it can also help you learn more about what they can do well. If you identify their strengths, you can easily apply these new findings to their role at work or future employee training.

Lock in the best workspaces for your offsite

Plan and organize offsites with minimal admin and provide your team with the best workspaces to connect and collaborate.

Written By

Andrea Rajic


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