Are you faced with the daunting task of planning your company's upcoming retreat? Does the mere thought of it make you break out in a sweat? Take a deep breath and rest assured - we've got your back! We're sharing our treasure trove of expert advice to ensure your next team retreat is epic!
Here at Yeti, retreats are a huge part of who we are. When our team transitioned to remote work during the pandemic we quickly recognized the need to regroup and come together in person a few times a year to focus on relationship building and work on our company's goals. While the road to perfecting our retreat planning skills had its share of bumps and turns, we've now honed our process to perfection.
Whether your team is in person or remote, a well organized retreat can work wonders. It's a catalyst for fortifying essential team connections, boosting morale, and nurturing the seeds of creativity. Below, we share our treasure trove of expert advice to ensure your team retreat is not only successful but leaves an indelible mark in everyone's memory.
The perfect company retreat destination is as unique as your team itself, a an extraordinary location can create memorable experiences that team members will cherish and recall long after the retreat ends. These lasting memories can help solidify the bonds between team members and reinforce the positive impact of the retreat.
The following are some considerations for choosing a location that fits your needs.
Opting for an easily accessible destination tops the list of priorities, as it plays a major role in your retreat’s success. Keep in mind that prolonged and complicated journeys can be overwhelming, frustrating and exhausting, and will have a definite effect on the overall mood of the retreat.
Choosing a destination near a major airport hub will streamline logistics on your end. The goal is to ensure a smooth, stress-free travel experience for all attendees, no matter where they are arriving from.
Here are some great examples near major hubs and with tons of activities to choose from:
Think about whether your team would thrive in the serene solitude of a countryside cabin, or if they’d prefer the vibrant pulse of a bustling city, and consider which location aligns best with your retreat goals.
Delve into the types of activities your team typically relishes. Do they lean towards outdoor adventures, or do they prefer indoor pursuits? The location itself will likely dictate the range of activities on offer: while a mountain retreat could provide active, outdoor activities, a city retreat opens doors to cultural events and urban adventures.
Be sure to consider the nature of your planned team-building and internal company activities to determine whether there is a specific type of location that suits them ideally.
Remember, your venue should be in an environment that is conducive to both team bonding and relaxation, and which provides the opportunity to nurture informal connections that strengthen the team.
These days there are a plethora of choices when picking out the ideal lodging situation for your team. Two of the most common being hotels and Airbnb/ private homes and cabins, each of which has it’s benefits and downsides.
The biggest downside to hotels are their lack of casual (but private) common areas, which can make it difficult for team members to spend down time together, and the lack of usable kitchen, which can cut costs for those on a budget, and allow for team building. For these reasons, hotels can be a convenient choice for shorter retreats or when you need a dedicated meeting space.
While it may not be as fun and glamorous as scouting out a beautiful location, it’s important to take a few practical things into consideration, as they play a vital role in ensuring your retreat runs smoothly and effectively.
A successful retreat balances work and play, so be sure to plan activities that allow for both. Depending on the length of your retreat, we’d recommend a combination of company-led workshops and fun and interactive bonding activities to break up the day.
When choosing activities it’s crucial that they are inclusive to the entire group. This means, ensuring that each team member is comfortable, able (and hopefully excited!) to participate in each of the activities you plan. Have someone terrified of heights? Don’t plan a rock climbing trip. Does anyone on your team have mobility issues? Perhaps it’s best to skip the hike.
Remember, it’s ok to nudge people to try something new and exciting, but it is important that you ensure that everyone feels accommodated and comfortable. Here are just a few ideas for some fun group activities:
One of the main purposes of your retreat is to allow team members to get to know one another better, and build stronger bonds. You may also be focusing on internal processes, issues, growth etc. For this reason, you should plan several team building exercises and workshops for your retreat.
Anything that strengthens your teams bonds can be considered team building, so even the fun activities you’ve planned will serve this purpose if done correctly. You might want to consider breaking the team into smaller groups that include individuals that don’t generally work together. This will give them the opportunity to get to know one another a bit better.
As for dedicated team building activities, the Yeti team has tried them all (well, maybe not all… but a lot). We’ve found a lot of success with compliment circles, Team Family Feud and team member trivia. Here’s a list of awesome activities for you to try on your next retreat - and if some of your team members are remote, here are our favorite remote team building activities!
Everyone needs to eat, so be sure to carefully plan each of your meals. Here are a few pointers for keeping your team happy and fed!
After the retreat, solicit feedback from team members to learn what worked well and what could be improved. Ideally this is done through an anonymous survey. Use this information to refine your future retreats and make them even more enjoyable.
Planning the perfect company retreat can be time consuming (and maybe a bit overwhelming), but when done right it’s absolutely worth the effort. Sharing time with your team in a beautiful location, exploring and trying new things is a great way to strengthen bonds… and just have fun!
We hope you find this guide helpful for planning your next team retreat!
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