Company retreats—you’ve heard about them, experienced them and even managed a company or team retreat yourself. What's the big deal about company retreats? They allow employees to build greater synergy, regroup and rediscover passion for their work in an environment outside of the office. When employees return to work post-retreat, stress levels are lower, resulting in additional energy to work as hard as necessary without sacrificing quality.
Many organizations plan company retreats in and around major events, like client project "rev-up" retreats, a first quarter push to align the organization and boost productivity, or an end-of-summer retreat to celebrate the final days of nice weather, and a much deserved reward for work efforts. Employees will appreciate that you recognize their efforts by creating a fun event and incorporating team building activities where they enhance workplace skills in the process a—win-win for you as their leader, the employees and the entire organization.
Unfortunately, organizations can be limited to a budget for company retreats, which can put a constraint on the activities planned. If you're organizing a retreat and managing a tight budget, do not fear, there are many options to plan a fun event without breaking the bank.
Camping is a great way to bring company employees together on a low budget. The cost to rent space is relatively low and employees often help one another set up camp, cook, clean and create fun group activities. Incorporate team building activities to utilize the time to improve culture, unity, problem solving, and communication amongst the groups. Add a problem solving activity such as a murder mystery game from Team Building Kits into the mix. Include other activities for variety such as puzzles, board games, fishing, s'mores by the fire, and so on. Camping is also a great way to get away from the stresses of the everyday work surroundings and is an ideal environment for employees to get to know each other better. Don't want to stay overnight? No problem! You can still set up a fun "Day Camp" and pack it up before sun down.
Search for special talents within your organization by sourcing employee hobbies and activities that they engage in outside of work. This is an internal way of finding out what special activities and/or interests employees have such as knitting, painting, yoga, and photography that can be taught to the group. With this lower budget retreat activity, employees are provided basic training from fellow team members and it can be a fun way to get to know one another for greater team unity. This retreat activity provides employees with a fun outlet outside of their usual work day. Showing employees that you care about their hobbies and skills outside of the workplace can have a positive impact as the employer. Cater the event with some fun lunch items, desserts, and beverages to take it up a notch.
If your organization has already planned an all-company conference or meeting during the year, incorporate a retreat into the event as well. The cost is already incurred by the conference itself, so additional costs for a retreat won't break your event budget. Add activities such as salsa challenges where teams create their own salsa to be judged by the leadership, winners receive a prize such as gift cards or an additional PTO day.
Wherever your offices are located, incorporate an activity at a restaurant, city scavenger hunt, rent an event space, hotel conference room/pool, or recreation facility to accommodate the organization's retreat and its activities. Costs associated with an event like this include the rental space, renting transportation, activities, and food and beverages. It can get pricey fast—but ask businesses for the "local" discount as you make calls to organize the retreat.
Incorporating a recreational sport activity can be an effective option for restricted-budget retreats. Rent park space for activities such as softball and kickball, or bowling at a family entertainment center. Any recreational sport activity can be a fun team experience to develop cohesive unity, enhance communication, and develop better relationships. Check your local YMCA or city league for sign up options.
A company retreat is basically an all-company gathering that usually takes places outside of the office. Company retreats can vary by location and by activity. Many organizations use the company retreat as a once or twice a year "check up" where executives can talk about how the company is doing financially and otherwise while employees take part in a day-long team building activity. Some companies have picnics, ski, hike, go out to restaurants, provide a big bar tab, and more. There are lots of ways for companies to get creative in the company retreat department, but it doesn't have to break the bank to have an impact.
It really depends on the size of your company and the budget you've set for company culture-boosting activities. The cost comes down to how much the chosen activity will be per person plus any extras (venue, food, beverages, transportation, and activity). If you're trying to cut costs , you can do the retreat in the office, organize a potluck, or carpool to the destination.