5 things to consider before going on a company offsite

“5 things to consider before going on a company offsite” is a continuation of Design thinking on the beach. We highly recommend you to check it out for more inspiration.

With the popularity of business retreats increasing, at BizTreat we feel that talking about what happens during and beyond the retreat is becoming is even more important. Facilitating a multidisciplinary, fully-present crowd working together towards the same goal at a private, hidden beach was a delightful and unforgettable event. It definitely wasn’t just about getting away from the office. Here is what we learned so far and how you can make a difference between just getting away and getting away with a purpose.

Preparation is the first step. What are you aiming to achieve? How are you going to utilise the precious opportunity of gathering everyone in a new, inspiring environment? Getting ready with the right tools, approaches and methodologies that will help you achieve your goal is a great way to start! We’d suggest that you go as creative as possible and make a use of the new environment you’re travelling to. Mundane presentations can be delivered anywhere.

Offsite is an opportunity to elevate your business, not just take time off. You’re bringing together people who are the closest to your business and you chose them for their brilliance. Use their expertise to help you solve some of your business challenges. Make it real, make it relevant. Addressing a real life problem, having its stakeholders involved in the workshop and being in the environment where it originated helped our attendees to immediately connect with the challenge. Keep it fun. We cannot stress enough how important the playfulness is in delivering workshops. There are ways to make work feel like play and to unleash people’s creative sides so why wouldn’t you?

To allow you focus on filing the purpose of the retreat you might want to consider calling in external facilitators. Not only they will take weight off your shoulders in terms of planning the program, running the sessions and managing the logistics. They’re also perfect for bringing in new skills and even helping you with post-retreat follow-up and implementation of the newly acquired knowledge. Now we’re talking real learning.

Getting away from the office and picking the location carefully is the next step. Changing the environment doesn’t only serve as an inspiration trigger and a powerful agent in offering new perspectives. It helps change team dynamics, allows people to get out of their usual roles, and their embedded ways of thinking. There is less to protects, people are more at ease and less likely to manifest their egos. Going outside is also a great way of getting closer to the real world and building empathy with it.

Follow-up. Too often offsites end the moment we enter the office again. The boxes are ticked and we get on with our daily routines as before. If you managed to generate some magic during your time away, that was your 80%. The other 20% is with following up – that’s what will make all the difference for your business. Whether it’s a new way of conducting meetings that your team agreed on or a new product launch you’ve worked through, walking away from the offsite with a concrete plan or at least an intention to put things into practice will take you a long way. Now you not only paid your team for an awesome time off but you’ve truly invested in the future of your business.

Have you recently organised a company retreat? What’s your experience?