The Benefits of Holding an Off-Site Retreat

Photo of MaxFunCon event at UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center, via Lecky Photography
Photo of MaxFunCon event at UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center, via Lecky Photography

When companies decide to hold meetings, one of the first questions is usually whether or not the meeting will take place on company property. On-site meetings are often much cheaper and more convenient for attendees, but do they yield the same results? Here’s why it’s a great idea to take your group off-site:

Fewer distractions – If you take your team out of their natural work setting, it’s far less tempting to step out of the room to answer an “urgent” phone call or email, as they might at work.

A new setting – Being in a new setting often encourages people to think more creatively, and to be more open-minded about new ideas and change.

Teambuilding – Retreats are a great opportunity to bring people out of their shell, and to help them engage with each other on a more personal level. Whether you plan a hike, an activity on a ropes course, some group sightseeing, or an organized sharing/mingling activity, you are helping your team bond in ways that will be beneficial in the long-run.

A fresh outlook – A successful retreat leaves attendees feeling energized about returning to work and acting upon what was discussed.

If you want your off-site retreat to be a great success, keep these things in mind as well:

Don’t plan more than can realistically be achieved in the timeframe of your retreat. Attendees should be given some time to enjoy their surroundings.

If possible, plan the retreat during normal working days. People are often resentful about having to use their weekends for a work retreat, and that can negatively affect morale and productivity during the retreat. Along those lines, don’t use retreats as rewards – you are there to be productive and have a bit of fun. If the mission is solely to have fun, people usually have better ideas for how they’d like to do that, and it’s usually with their own family and friends.

Have defined goals for the retreat. Your attendees should walk away feeling that the group accomplished something important.

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