Once believed to be a luxury that only few could afford, company retreats have made their way into mainstream business practices. It’s time spent away from the mundane office and daily routine, that still has beneficial impact on employees and their results. With a proper schedule and a fitting setting, a company retreat can revive the work atmosphere, bring together team members, and improve productivity.
A company retreat can range from a couple of days at a lodge, to a 7-days “workation” in a rented house; from generic engagement games, to custom-made exercises, specially created for certain business challenges; from tight budgets, to lavish trips overseas; from freeing a team of their office for a weekend, to gathering a remote team that rarely see each other. The use cases are numerous and varied, but the benefits of a retreat are the same for all. In the following, we’ll see the main advantages that company retreats bring to the table, both for the employees and the company.
1. They help everyone relax. Getting away from the workspace, in a place void of any deadlines or reports, should help employees unwind a bit. In addition, more often than not, these moments of recreation translate into benefits for the company as well – people who return from vacation are more focused and more committed to their job. Of course, a company retreat is a tad different from taking a personal vacation, as it implies participating in activities with work colleagues. However, it is a time for fun, leisure, and reflection on the achievements of the entire team.
2. They improve communication. When you take people out of their regular office (comfort zone) and you place them in different situations, they will be compelled to develop new methods of communication and ways of working together. Once these bridges have been built, they will remain at their disposal, and will be used back in the workplace as well. And since the schedule of these retreats is usually made out of games or various types of entertainment, they will also have fun while doing it.
3. They strengthen relationships. It’s no wonder that a synonym for “company retreat” is “teambuilding”. Spending quality time together can bring fellow colleagues closer, boosting confidence in each other, and cementing friendships. In this way, strong-knit teams are being built (hence the term), that will function more as a family than as a hollow business system. As discussed in a previous section, one of the worker trends for this year is the search for a sense of belonging. Retreats are a great way of developing and maintaining that feeling of affiliation.
4. They’re a great exercise in working together towards the same goal. Whether it’s winning a game, or delivering great results at the end of a business quarter, the steps are the same. Brainstorm to find the best ideas, share the workload, discover each person’s inclination and give them fitting tasks, discuss what went wrong and what lead to success, support each other etc. All these mechanisms that serve to mobilize everyone towards a purpose are valid regardless of the prize.
5. They’re a means to discovering hidden talents. Changing the environment means changing the range of instruments one uses in order to deal with the new setting. As a result, latent abilities might come to light, and along with them, new methods of handling office work. A change in scenery and activity is prone to offer fresh perspectives to both employee and employer. For the employee, it’s a better understanding how their colleagues function, for the employer, it’s finding out unique employee capabilities, that can change ordinary office procedures.
Organizing a company retreat is a pretty simple task. Organizing a successful one, however, that checks all the boxes above, can prove to be trickier. You have to find a date that works for everyone, choose a location that’s easy to reach, make the traveling arrangements, plan the activities, make sure you have all the required materials, and so on and so forth. Luckily, you also have the option to delegate all of this to a specialized company. And the good thing is there’s plenty you can choose from.
The only thing left is to sit back and relax, while building stronger relationships and growing with your workmates.