Do you ever take your team outside of the office to regroup and plan for the future? If not, you should consider investing in a business retreat.

Why? A retreat brings everyone together to redefine your vision and business strategy, brainstorm new ideas and discuss upcoming projects. A company retreat also helps create or rebuild relationships. A strong team is more likely to communicate better, and appreciate and trust one another, which can increase productivity and keep your employees happy.

A change in environment can also make a huge difference. A corporate retreat gives your team uninterrupted time, away from distractions, to align goals for the upcoming season. Not everyone has the budget for an elaborate retreat, so we’ve put together ideas to plan on a budget, as well as tips for an effective retreat.  

 

Budget Tips

Stay local

A reason people stray from the idea of a retreat is usually due to the cost of travel. Airfare and hotel room prices add up quickly, especially with a large group of people. Instead of a “getaway,” consider a “stay-cay.” Find a local hotel with a nice conference room to hold your retreat. This way your employees can still go home at the end of the day, and you can avoid the pricey cost of travel. The main purpose of a retreat is to get everyone out of the office, and this option does just that.

Tip: If you live close to the water, like the beach or river, try to find a hotel with a view. By producing a relaxing, scenic environment, your retreat will still have the “getaway” feel.

Rent a house

If you have the budget, or just insist on getting out of town, rent a cabin or beach house. This way you won’t be paying nightly hotel rates and it gives your retreat a cozy, at-home feel. These locations also set the stage for lots of team bonding activities like cooking meals together, having a game night, and outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.

Group Rates

Several hotels, restaurants and transportation services offer group rates, and it never hurts to ask. If you’re planning a fun team building activity like a high ropes course or rock climbing, they tend to offer group or corporate rates as well. You’d be surprised at how much you can save, and every bit helps!

 

Retreat Tips

Reasonable Agenda

You don’t want to cram too much into the retreat and overload your employees. The purpose is to get away, reconnect and align your goals. If you ask them to focus on too much, the efficiency of the retreat won’t be as strong.

Set Clear Goals

Come up with key results or actionable goals you’d like to see by the end of the retreat. Based on those, create a list of topics to focus on, and be sure to stay on track. To avoid wasting valuable retreat time, use the “parking lot” method for ideas and discussions that are off topic to review at a later date. Here’s a list of topics to help get you started:

  • Gather input on major upcoming projects
  • Find ways to improve company culture
  • Ask for ideas to improve workflow and processes
  • Identify previous and potential challenges
  • Share personal goals and company goals

Make Everyone Feel Welcome

Everyone’s input is crucial in order to have a successful retreat. Encourage people to give ideas and express themselves – there’s no better time or place to do it! Incorporate different discussion styles to accommodate a large group. For example, if there’s a topic that you know people will be hesitant to share honest thoughts, have everyone write their opinions anonymously and have someone read them aloud. This will also help introverts who have a more difficult time expressing themselves in front of a group.

 

Do you have any other ideas on corporate retreat planning? Let us know in the comments below! For more business tips and tricks, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.