As more and more teams go remote, finding a way to connect in person will become an important linchpin in creating team unity. Many major companies that have embraced remote work have started offering yearly team retreats for their employees to connect. This practice will become commonplace in time and if your company is just venturing into the remote world it might leave you wondering the best way to accomplish a successful, professional, and enjoyable retreat. Here are four aspects we’ve found to be the keys to success!
Location & Duration
First thing you’ll need to decide is how long the retreat will be. Retreats can range anywhere from a long weekend to a month depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. For shorter, weekend long retreats choosing a more isolated location will really help solidify team bonding in a limited amount of time.
If you’re planning on being together longer than a few days it will be important to choose a location that gives your team autonomy and doesn’t leave them feeling overwhelmed with constant company contact. Choosing an urban environment where people can walk to stores, fill their free time with individual activity, and network with others would be the best option for a longer term retreat.
Establishing Ground Rules
Before going from being remote to in person, it’s important that everyone has clear guidelines and expectations so they can feel comfortable about the transition. Put together several presentations explaining the dress code, packing suggestions, the itinerary, safety guidelines, and any other rules or regulations that should be followed and upheld on the retreat. Set meeting time aside to go over each presentation and give your employees opportunities to ask questions and open a dialogue so nothing is left uncertain.
Make Time For Team Building
To get the most out of a work retreat there should be opportunities for team building, scheduled around work. A huge benefit to having an in person retreat is the opportunity to get work done together in person so don’t squander the opportunity on individual projects. Harness the synergy of in person collaboration and schedule meetings to tackle more creative projects that work best with brainstorming and group participation.
Getting dynamic work done is not the only benefit that should be explored – this is a golden opportunity for your team to build trust and connections with one another that will transfer to their day to day relationships as well. Make sure to schedule at least one team building focused excursion or activity for your retreat. This could be a ropes course, an escape room, a mystery dinner, a scavenger hunt, a game or trivia night, a cooking class, or some kind of competition related to your industry. No matter what the activity the goal should be that the team must work together to solve, build, accomplish or create something. While it can look like fun and games, the bonds built through shared experiences are a priceless asset when creating and maintaining a unified team.
Balance Between Work And Leisure
While accomplishing dynamic in-person work, planning for the future, and experiencing team building are all the main benefits of a work retreat, it’s important to make sure your schedule is an even balance of work and leisure to avoid burnout from your team. Make sure to be respectful of your team’s personal time, keeping “before and after work hours” activities and requirements to a minimum. Schedule in pockets of free time for your employees to explore or rest so they can refresh and recharge after a significant amount of in person interactions. This is also a time to show your team your appreciation for them, and providing optional fun activities and excursions shows that you value not just their work, but their entire experience on this trip.