Are you a remote or hybrid organisation thinking about organising a team retreat? They’re a great way of bringing your team together (particularly if you are geographically disparate) and can lead to all sorts of benefits. According to Repeople, these include improvements in team communication, engagement and work satisfaction and an increase in productivity as a result. What’s more, Travel Perk found that 34% of employees felt they had their most creative ideas whilst on a company retreat!
We’ve even had the chance to talk to some of the leaders of remote organisations that swear by retreats to spice up everyday work. Niko Skievaski, co-founder of Redox, tells us that karaoke and general creativity play a big role in Redox’s annual company retreats, which really help to build trust amongst team members. Jon Burke of Automattic also informs us that his global team gets together a couple times annually to get to know new members and build team cohesion.
Head’s up though - if you’re thinking about organising your own retreat, a good deal of planning will be necessary to ensure its success. To make life easier for you, we’ve congregated a list of the 5 main factors to think about when planning:
The last thing you want is for your team retreat to be a waste of time (and money). Noting desired outcomes before the retreat will help avoid this. A good way of establishing goals is by asking each team member to jot down what they personally hope to accomplish. After congregating these, clear themes should start to arise. Goals don’t need to be that complicated either - it could be something as simple as wanting to build better relationships within the team. Ideally these goals will be measurable in order to quantify progress and success.
The topic of budget is closely aligned with the question of having an in-person vs virtual retreat. Whilst in-person retreats are a great way for your remote team to grow bonds in an organic way, it won’t be cheap to get your team in one place, especially for a global team. On the other hand, virtual retreats are a lot easier and cheaper to organise, but may be harder to find a time that is optimal for everyone (especially for async teams). You can organise a successful retreat regardless of whether it’s in-person or virtual, but by figuring out your budget you can identify which one is the best fit for your own team.
The agenda is heavily aligned with your goals for the retreat and it’s important to involve your team as much as possible when deciding what to include - it’s for them after all! To make the trip as inclusive as possible you could offer a variety of different activities that members can choose to participate in. You should also ask members if there is anything they can’t/don’t feel comfortable participating in to avoid uneasiness later on. If you opt for an in-person retreat and some members can’t make it, ensure they can still participate online. Inclusivity is key here.
Once you’ve established the agenda for your retreat, you can figure out roughly how much time is needed. Whilst there is the question of how long the entire retreat will be, it’s also important to figure out the length of each activity and what times of the day work best for everyone. It may be worth splitting the team in two for certain activities if the right time seems impossible to find.
Most importantly, you and your team want to bond and have a good time. Incorporating social, non-work, bonding time into your retreat will prove invaluable for the connections you aspire to make. These moments often get overlooked due to the drive to maximise time spent, but it is in fact one of the most important pieces. This time can be in the shape of having dinner and drinks together as a team or a good old fashioned brunch. Either way, factoring in time to just relax as a group is definitely a good idea - you deserve it after all!