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Work Retreat Ideas to Re-Energize Your Team

Andrew Langat
April 13, 2023
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"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

Work retreats, also called corporate retreats or team retreats, allow companies to bring team members together outside the office setting. For many employees and management, this is a time to break off from the hustle of day-to-day business running and engage in team-building exercises.

They form part of the strategies for boosting employee engagement and creating a cohesive team.

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What Is a Work Retreat?

A work retreat is an event or activity a company organizes to take employees away from their regular work environment to focus on a specific goal, project, or activity.

It typically involves a group of employees leaving their usual work setting and spending a designated time period together in a different location.

Company or corporate retreat ideas usually revolve around what objectives or goals need to be achieved in line with company objectives for a given period.

These events enable team members to relax, bond, reduce conflicts, and agree on ways to move forward in corporate planning or problem-solving.

In this era with remote teams and remote employees, company retreats can be a cost-effective way to bring the entire team together to work better, not harder.

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12 Company Retreat Activities to Connect and Motivate Employees

Here are some company retreat ideas you can take up:

1. Game night

Have a night out to play board games like Scrabble, or Monopoly. These games can give your team a chance to bond and reminisce.

Game nights are a great way of building teamwork, reducing stress, and fostering a culture of collaboration.

2. Have a welcome party

A welcome party can be an excellent way to start a team retreat, especially if the team-building retreat lasts more than a day. People can introduce themselves and get to know each other in a low-stress setting.

This can be especially important in a team with remote team members.

3. Escape rooms

An escape room is a team-building activity where employees work to solve puzzles, riddles, and clues together.

You can divide the team into smaller teams, get into rooms, and work to get out by completing some tasks.

The units can engage in a friendly competition where the winners are rewarded. This bonding experience can encourage the participation of everyone while also improving their problem-solving skills.

4. Wellness art activities

Almost every kind of art you can think of makes a fun activity for a group. Painting, sculpting, pottery, sewing, and even jewelry-making make for memorable experiences and lets employers create souvenirs of their time together.

The chosen activities should encourage the participation of each team member to promote maximum participation.

5. Scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt can be in a new city where the staff retreats. You can put up a set of clues and the team can take the entire day or a few hours trying to solve it. Scavenger hunts inspire communication and collaboration. Many people can participate in scavenger hunts, making them popular among larger groups.

6. Sporting activities

Team sports like baseball and football can encourage the entire team's participation. Remember, you have a wide array of personalities on your team, and they might have skills they'd be willing to bring along to enhance the retreat experience. Sign them up for other activities, like ropes and obstacle courses. Involving them in such team activities will build collaborative relationships, which can be transferred to a professional atmosphere. Be aware there may be different physical abilities on your team, so seek out inclusive activities everyone can participate in.

7. Karaoke

You can hire or rent a karaoke machine where your team can belt out their favorite tunes. You can group your team members to help them feel comfortable performing in front of a crowd. Alternatively, you can head to a local bar and after a happy hour period, everyone can try and join the singing.

8. Camping and hiking

You can combine a camping expedition with hiking. After picking a location, you can hike to the camping site. This can be an excellent chance for team bonding. You can have a campfire to play games or a trivia contest at the site.

9. Create a team logo

A team logo is an activity where team members create a logo, shield, or flag. It helps team members focus on collaboration, creative thinking, and fostering an identity for the team.

10. Research a new city together on foot

Having walking meetings makes for better conversations and leads to deeper connections. Go to a museum, have an art walking tour, and stroll around without any particular aim.

11. Volunteer

Volunteering may not always seems like the most creative idea, but its objective is far more critical than other retreat ideas. Volunteering in some companies is more of a local tradition, but you can have it as a retreat activity.

Volunteering involves doing free work for the well-being of the community. You can spend a few hours volunteering through activities like mentorship programs, cleaning trash, feeding low-income or unhoused individuals, and building shelters.

12. Water activities

If a body of water is near you, you can consider activities like rowing, swimming, canoeing, surfing, or kayaking.

You can also access a swimming pool and play water polo or pool basketball and volleyball.

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Benefits of a Work Retreat

1. It boosts morale and performance.

Improving performance and boosting morale is the main reason companies decide to have team-building events and host retreats. Investing in team and staff members is a good way for companies to show that they care.

Team building retreats help build employee morale, and their performance can improve as they notice appreciation from their superiors.

2. It improves relationships among team members.

Team building activities help build camaraderie and relationships, creating a good workplace. Company retreats encourage team bonding and bring teams together in ways that will last longer and build resilience, innovation, and brainstorming opportunities more quickly.

3. It helps rebuild company culture.

In an office environment, times of hardship and strain can occur. This can cause a divide between corporate management and employees. An increased workload can cause a ridge, and team members can cause discord.

These unresolved issues can cause a great rift and affect the whole company and culture. A company retreat can help correct these issues and rebuild the culture.

4. It improves communication.

A team-building retreat can help improve communication quickly. Communication becomes an asset that can last for a long time after a company retreat is completed. Team building retreats help employees develop bonds and a more vital link with corporate management.

Retreats allow the employees free time to have creative ideas, establish a strong vision and mission, and strengthen organizational culture.

5. It improves employee engagement.

A good employee engagement program suits individuals looking to create deeper meaning from their jobs and careers. A company retreat will help incentivize these key players, enhancing their opportunities to grow.

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How Can a Company Retreat Help Teams Connect, Especially During the Pandemic?

The Covid-19 pandemic forced many companies to adopt new working orders. So a lot of companies resorted to working remotely.

However, mental health issues became rampant during the Covid-19 period. Mental health issues during the pandemic have become a top concern for remote teams. Remote working and its effects on mental affect each team member differently. Therefore, it's vital to have a team-building exercise to rejuvenate the team.

A company retreat will allow the leaders to notice their team's well-being. Team leaders should create time and identify a retreat location where individuals can meet and share their experiences from the pandemic period. Alternately, team leaders can find creative ways to create online activities that allow everyone to participate from their home work environments. Working remotely makes it harder for employees to engage personally, and having a retreat can ensure everyone on the team feels engaged.

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How to Organize a Successful Retreat?

In today's work environment, remote and distributed work have become a norm, and company retreats have been a way to support company culture and employees. Company retreats are a balance between fun activities and employee communication and collaboration.

Therefore a retreat planning process should consider the following:

1. Company Goals

Before planning a company or corporate retreat, consider what the corporate and the team gain from it. If the goal is to connect remote workers spread across multiple countries, then you'll need to plan for events that last for more than two days. But a quick day or two will do if the retreat is for a fun time out of the office.

2. Team availability

You cannot just surprise your team with a retreat without giving them a heads-up. A retreat is usually outside the routine; therefore, you must notify your team, especially if it involves traveling or unusual hours. Some of your team members may have families and children. It's essential to give them time to prepare, at least three months in advance.

3. Season

When planning for team retreats, you need to consider the time of the year, depending on the location and style of the retreat.

On top of the list, you need to consider the weather. For outdoor activities, you will need nice weather. For instance, if you plan for a team hike, you must avoid the winter mountain and the summer desert. But if you plan to go skiing, a winter trip is excellent.

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Retreat Planning: A Step-By-Step Procedure

It would be best to plan for the retreat after you've made all the above considerations. Here are some steps that can guide you:

1. Identify and book a retreat venue.

Choosing the right venue is vital for a successful retreat. The retreat is usually an escape from the usual workspace, so ensure that the venue booked provides a fun and unique experience.

The proper venue will depend on the size of the group. You can pick a short-term rental space for smaller groups, while for large groups, you may consider a resort or hotel for accommodation.

Whatever venue you pick, ensure the environment is completely different from conference and meeting rooms.

2. Book lodging space.

Sometimes you may need to book lodging or accommodation space separate from your venue. If that's the case, book an accommodation space near the venue so your team can go back and forth. This may not be necessary if the retreat is local.

3. Hire transportation.

If the retreat is locally situated, you can decide whether to hire shuttle services or ask your employees to drive themselves. If you pick shuttle services, inform your team that they won't need their vehicles.

When flying to your venue, you must book flights and transportation from the airport to the platform and back.

You can look up services from travel booking sites like Travelocity and Kayak.

4. Manage food and Catering.

Sometimes, the venue may not offer catering services for corporate events, so it's up to you to hire caterers to cover your meals. You may have to choose whether it will be large catered meals or a self-service option. You could even have a cooking class as a team-building activity.

Alternatively, you can use the venue for local restaurant recommendations. Remember, you need to identify individual allergies and dietary needs.

5. Plan team-building activities.

After completing all logistical issues, you will need some fun activities and retreat events. There are plenty of fun team-building exercises you can pick. Whatever the choice, consider ways your team can get out and enjoy some fresh air.

When planning the retreat, try incorporating various activity styles that accommodate people's comfort levels and preferences. Some can be laid back, like board games and art classes, while others are more active, like exploring the great outdoors.

6. Provide recommendations and activities in the area.

Plan downtime for your team to venture off and do other retreat activities. Create leaflets or compile a document that provides necessary information on the area where the retreat will be held, including sections on restaurant recommendations or local landmarks people may be interested in seeing.

A company or corporate retreat is as good as you can plan it. Make sure you make all the necessary considerations. Though the process might be challenging, the above steps can help you do it well and on time.

Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

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Getting the Best of Your Team With Highrise

As a manager, coming up with corporate retreat ideas can be challenging. It requires understanding your team and creating activities that encourage participation.

When well thought out, corporate retreats encourage teamwork and friendly competition, critical elements of building and boosting employee motivation.

Join our 6-Month Highrise Leader Impact Program and learn how to develop the most creative ideas for your next work retreat.

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Andrew Langat
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Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.