In the past years, company retreats have become very popular. Companies like Buffer and Zapier are flying their whole (remote) teams all over the world to boost productivity, collaboration, …

How it Helps?

Small business owners can improve productivity by investing in a company retreat. A company retreat allows them to regroup and rediscover their passion for their work. When they return, their stress levels will be lower, meaning they’ll have the energy to work as hard as necessary without sacrificing quality. 

An event like this is perfect way to get closer together and dive a little deeper into the company’s philosophy. Let’s see how can it benefit the people.

Offsites Encourage Team Building & Bonding

Retreats that include team activities build camaraderie, training you and your workers to identify and incorporate the personal strengths of individuals to achieve group goals. The cooperative skills gained at a retreat will improve the performance of your workforce by showing employees how to work together effectively. A recent MIT study reported in the Harvard Business Journal found that teams that communicate directly with each other—and not just with management—are more productive and creative. Socializing away from workstations also played a significant factor in boosting efficiency.

Improves Morale

Low morale hurts productivity, making workers sluggish. Often, low morale is a problem of perspective. For example, after putting in long hours to complete a difficult project, your employees might have forgotten the more pleasant aspects of their jobs. Company retreats remove workers from their typical contexts, revitalizing them and inspiring them to take pride in their work again.

Offsites Gives Everyone Some Time to Reflect, have Fun!

After months of hard work, it’s beneficial for staff and leadership alike to take a moment to reflect on what’s been accomplished during that time. An off-site retreat away from the office—but with all team members still present—is the perfect opportunity to do so. Reflect on what has worked, what hasn’t, and how to address that discrepancy going forward, for companies like LessEverything, taking a group retreat is a way to show employees they’re loved and appreciated.

With no formal agenda, retreats can be a chance just to hang out as a group, laugh, and talk to each other. These events are a way to show value to employees and to just generally have a good time. Just don’t forget to enjoy the company of your colleagues at the retreat. Have fun!

Better Communication, Getting to know People Better

When workers relax, they communicate better, both with you and each other. Opening lines of communication builds connections, spurring conversations that might not have happened otherwise, allowing employees to gain new perspectives on the business. Take time to learn about each other’s personalities, for analytics companies like Baremetrics with a growing team that’s scattered across countries and states, video chats work fine most days.

However, once a year, they like to get together as a group for some face time where they can really learn about each other’s personalities. “Doing a retreat lets us spend a lot of time together to learn about what makes each other tick,” they wrote on the company blog.

Considerations, Helps with Important Decisions

Some company retreats have an agenda in addition to relaxation. For example, the relaxed atmosphere of a company retreat can foster effective brainstorming sessions for new company strategies. The key is to define a reasonable agenda that doesn’t overload the employees with work during the retreat. After all, the goal is to stimulate future productivity by helping your employees reconnect and relax. Asking them to do too much will decrease the retreat’s beneficial effects. Sometimes it’s better to have an in-person gathering to hash out important, company-wide decisions–and retreats are one way to do that. Customer.io found that being able to talk through the many angles of a difficult decision was helpful, and so they now save this activity for in-person retreats.

Company retreats Refocus Employees, Helps with Important Decisions

Studies in recent years have consistently shown that working less leads to increased productivity. Company leadership is in agreement. A 2017 GfK survey conducted for Project: Time Off found that 78% of managers felt time off improved the focus of their employees; 70% said it renews staff commitment. It may seem counterproductive, but an off-site free of standard work tasks could lead to a reinvigorated office in the long run. 

Retreats Show that you Value your Employees

Expensing a trip away from the office to participate in recreational activity indicates that you care about your employees outside of work. That goes a long way towards reducing turnover and keeping team members committed. Research from the University of Warwick found that happy workers are 12% more productive.

Though Company Retreats serve a purpose and are beneficial in many ways they still have a few cons attached to it, let’s discuss them briefly.

Cost

A corporate retreat can be expensive, depending on its venue, duration, and location. Generating goodwill and a sense of community among your employees is great. But if you have to sacrifice your marketing budget or lay off a salesperson to do it, it’s probably not worth the cost.

Hard feelings

It’s rare for a company to completely shut down for a corporate retreat. That means someone is going to have to stay behind to receive customer calls, handle crises, and generally tend the store. As a consequence, the people who are left behind quickly take a turn toward the disgruntled, especially if everyone else is off “retreating” in a sunny, fun locale.

Execution challenges

There is actually a lot of work involved in organizing a successful corporate retreat. Here’s what you’re up against: After relocating your staff to a retreat-friendly corner of paradise, you have to create an agenda that can compete with the pool, the mountains, the nightlife, etc. Having fun is one thing, but planning a retreat agenda that is worthwhile and has lasting value for your business is something else entirely.

Bad imaging

As the AIG example demonstrates, planning a lavish corporate retreat during tough economic times is never a good idea. At the very least, consider the timing of your retreat. If you hold the retreat immediately before/after a significant price increase, you’ll displease your customers. If you hold it immediately before/after cutbacks or layoffs, you may have a staff mutiny on your hands.

Personnel risks

Most employers don’t like to think about it, but corporate retreats are hotbeds for personnel problems. Drunken spectacles, not-so-secret trysts – if it’s going to happen, it will take place at a corporate retreat. The best thing you can do to avoid incidents is to set a positive example and keep a close watch for potential problems.

Conclusion

Push those preconceived notions of retreats aside. Consider your company’s needs, and create an open, accepting environment where employees feel comfortable disclosing their fears or being their natural selves. The ideas you generate from unlocking their potential might just surprise you.

When planning your company retreat, think through your goals. Your objective could be to fortify bonds and establish trust among team members or maybe you want to challenge employees and inspire thoughtful conversations. Mix up the groups and encourage people who don’t normally work together to share ideas.

Nominating a retreat committee and including individuals from every department will ensure that you’re considering buy-in from each area of your company in the planning process.

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Anushka Pandey
Anushka Pandey