The gates (we mean borders) are open and it would make sense if you want to get everyone together again. When your team is globally distributed, a company-wide offsite or retreat may sound like the perfect solution, however, it can prove to be extremely challenging in terms of planning.
Ideally, you can start planning about 9 months in advance and it’s a good idea to compose a committee dedicated to the organisation. Still, there will be a lot to consider from the early planning stages to the follow-up discussions, so where do you start?
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Define and communicate your objectives so that you can choose the right activities that accommodate those objectives.
- Anticipate that it will not be cheap, so define the approximate budget for logistics, travel costs, food and beverages, activities, insurance, contingency, and any other extras (e.g., photographers).
- Choose your location and dates accordingly. Take into account: budget, atmosphere, travel distance, entry requirements, etc.
- Draft a rough schedule with approximate timings and activities you would like to plan for. Make time for fun! Invite your team members once you have a rough timeline so that they can keep a space in their agendas.
- Plan out the logistics in advance: securing hotel rooms, tours, flight tickets, visas (also consider transiting visas depending on where your team is coming from and going to).
- Prioritise DEI while planning. Make sure the location and activities are accessible to everyone or offer a variety of options to choose from. Also, schedule some downtime to unwind.
- Consider bringing an event team and the facilitator with you. There are many moving parts and having more hands to take care of things will help you enjoy the experience. Bringing a facilitator can help to use your time more efficiently as they will be able to specifically focus on the objectives. This can be internal or external.
- Communicate clearly to set expectations. Send out fun challenges to build up the excitement, like giving small hints regarding the location, sending teasers regarding some activities, or holding a photo challenge to win a prize during the offsite. Communicate clearly before, during, and after the event.
- Keep the momentum going. Maximise the impact of your offsite by documenting ideas and communicating before, during, and after the event. Ensure that everyone walks away with a positive experience and actions to work on. Collect people’s feedback to measure the value and learnings. Set up a shared drive so everyone can share their photos. You could even turn that into a video to share with prospective candidates on your careers page.
Even though there’s a lot more to planning an off-site or a retreat than what we just covered, we hope that this helps to kick off the planning. Clear goals, careful planning, and the right balance of fun and dedicated work time will be gold for a successful, beneficial off-site.
Here’s to organisations that invest in taking their people out of their normal working environment!
PS: is an off-site too much for your organisation? Find out how you can maximise the benefits of a team dinner instead.