A Company retreat is a gathering outside of your usual workplace. You will spend time with your usual co-workers but in a different environment that would encourage you to talk or think about something other than work. The aim is for you to bond with your co-workers, your boss, and the company that you work for. A relaxing time without thinking about work gives you an opportunity to get to know the people that you work with on a more personal level. It could even be like meeting them for the first time again.
Generally, company retreats allow employees to work together to achieve a shared goal and in turn, expose co-workers’ hidden talents and also fears. What other occasions could you have found out the co-worker sitting next to you is a black belt in Taekwondo but he is also scared of butterflies? Furthermore, depending on the activities, it gives participants a chance to overcome their fears and forms a tighter bond afterward. It also acts as training for problem solving, creativity, and teamwork. Last but not least, this is also time for company to promote an active and healthy lifestyle outside of work. To summary, this is an opportunity to grow, as an individual, as a team, and as a company together.
Normally, companies opt for a retreat in places that provide large meeting areas, meals, recreational activities, a company retreat leader and in some cases, overnight accommodation. Here are 5 great ideas to turn you next company retreat into an unforgettable one.
Firstly, everybody loves food and we could all bond over food. Your next company retreat might as well be just about food. It could be a team cooking contest, wine tour followed by wine tasting (tasting!), or cheese making lessons followed by cheese-related activities. These events provide sufficient relaxation time for everyone to actually connect and bond. Break time and mealtime is the period when you actually get to know someone and engage in non-work related topics.
Secondly, a little competition never hurt anybody. A fun-filled competition encourages teamwork, problem solving, strategies planning and a chance to get to know your co-workers better. Activities such as scavenger hunts, paint balling, orienteering, or any minor level of sporting activities. Paint balling is a classic company retreat, it encourages a group to bond and tackle hurdles together. Scavenger hunts and orienteering allow participants to problem solve together and a chance for everybody to learn something new. Just keep in mind that if there is only limited amount of time for a company retreat, ensure there is sufficient time for the retreater to rest and recharge.
Thirdly, a workcation, work while in a vocation. You might ask, why bother? Workcation can actually help brainstorming ideas as the change in work environment stimulates you to think outside the box, which is what all companies want their employees to do. Working on an upcoming new project? A workcation might just be the perfect tool. Imagine brainstorming ideas in a pool in the sunshine while sipping a mocktail. How about replying your email on the kitchen tables next to a batch of freshly baked cookies? Employees might not work more than their normal hours while in a workcation but they are more likely to increase their productivity. After work, they get to bond and share some stories together instead of rushing home to cook dinner, picking up kids from day care, or going to the gym. They get to sit next to a fire/swimming pool and talk about things that they would not normally talk with their co-workers.
Fourthly, retreat for a good cause. Partnering with NGOs on the occasion of company retreat can establish long and affectionate memories. The fund that is used for a company retreat can actually go towards a good cause and on the other hand, the retreater can learn more about social impacts that they might not normally be aware of. A great example is Marks & Spencer and Oxfam. The involvement of NGOs in company retreats play an educational role and it helps to consolidate the retreat experience to be a more memorable and fulfilling one.
Relax & Retreat
Lastly, just go on a trip, a sightseeing trip with a particular destination. This trip might not necessarily enhance problem-solving skill, or help to brainstorm the next big idea. But, it allows everyone to bond and communicate in a comfortable environment. Communication is the key to effective working environment; going on a trip today might just do the trick. Spending a considerable amount of time together in a new environment, creating a memory together. The constant talking, and getting-to-know each other time can provide great benefits in a work place.
Things to Remember When Planning a Company Retreat
The key things about planning a wonderful company retreat are planning and communication. Make sure you plan ahead, know your budget, ideal outcomes and most importantly, communicate with employees. This is all about them and make sure they know this as well. You want them to have a great time, recharge and come back a better self. Then, please consult them when planning a company retreat. For instance, if most of them want a relaxing time, then please do not make them go mountain climbing or something requiring a lot of physical effort. Give them sufficient time to relax so they can come back to the office all energised on Monday morning.
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