As much as our partners and clients are building amazing physical and mental places to go to work every day, there still needs to be time spent and bonds built Out of the Office. The next question that we arrive at is, what the heck to do once we've decided to get Offsite? Well, after 33 small-team offsites, company-wide retreats and executive trips in 2017, we have some ideas.
Consistent company retreats and offsites are the single greatest investment for mitigating some of the toughest challenges of a high-growth team.
The first fact to consider is the diversity of your group - and this is a really fun one! The more diverse the group, the better. This is often when our first clients approach us because planning shared experiences for a very diverse group can be daunting, at the very least. You have to think of every person, both introverts, and extroverts, adventurous, and shy; you feel like you have to make everyone happy. So the question is how to do that? How to plan a good retreat which will be loved by everyone?
Well, one way is to use ‘Google’ and it is quite possible that you may find some pretty exciting ideas or if you happen to land on this article then, Cheers, you are about to know 16 amazing ideas which will make your retreat remarkably unforgettable.
1. Scavenger Hunt
A very simple yet interesting and involving idea for a great day out with your team is to start a scavenger hunt. Just break your team into small groups and spread across the city! You can arrange this activity by yourself or can even use apps like Stray Boots for this purpose. After this activity, the team may be physically exhausted but will be psychologically rejuvenated and refreshed. To make it even more interesting, it will be a good idea to click random silly pictures of the team looking for clues and later show them to everyone in a slideshow. Well, it would be fun to watch the ‘Boss’ searching out for petty things.
A cooking related team activity can either end in a dessert or the whole place burnt down to ashes. But believe me, both are fun as hell!
On a lighter note, cooking can be a healthy and fun activity. You can break the team into a number of smaller teams and arrange a competition of the best dishes. To make it even more involving, give different teams different types of food to make and at the end, the whole office can have a nice dinner – or you can always order KFC in case things didn’t go as planned.
To make the whole activity, even more, fun you can make your own rules of the game. Like you can make it necessary for everyone to use or not use some specific ingredient. Limiting the time or resources that teams can put into the dish can also make this competition more exciting.
3. Comedy Event
Comedy and improvisation events are really interesting. These activities may look trivial and seems to have no purpose except making the team laugh with all their heart. But as a matter of fact, such activities can teach some very useful communication and interpersonal skills to the team members. If the budgets allow, you can even call in professionals to arrange competitive activities. Or if you are low on budget then employees can even arrange some improv games by themselves.
4. Photo Walk
Photography is one of the best things invented by humans by which you can capture the best events of your life forever. Arranging a photo walk for the team along with a beautiful hike can be one of the most exciting events of the retreat. You just have to acquire some cameras, smartphones will also work, and go shoot the beautiful places inside the city or in the suburbs.
Bonus Tip: You can even sell the better photos afterward and donate the money or have a team dinner.
5. Board Games
Another ingenious idea of increasing the team’s competitive and interpersonal skills, while also having fun, is arranging the board games. This can become really interesting if your team has a large number of people in it. Make a list of games and sign people up for them such that they can come and play their desired games. Some of the interesting games for a large number of people are Jenga, Boggle or even the card games. You can carry out some sort of tournament between various small groups within the team. To make it more involving for the team, you can arrange some prizes or incentives for the winners.
6. Music Events
The only thing we don’t like about musical events is that they end. Who won’t like to crack open a cold one while listening to sick beats? No single one. The best thing about musical nights is that you can even ask the shy one in your team to come to the stage and sing the shyness away. Or if the finances allow you can call in some professionals and have some unforgettable fun. Such an event is especially helpful when the team is in the initial stages. People give in to the beats and start coming out of their shells to bond with the coworkers.
7. Mystery Dinner
One of the most amazing and fun activities to be done in a team retreat is a mystery dinner. The concept is to make groups of people from within your team and send different groups for dinner to different places across the city which can be restaurants or someone’s house. The dinner is hosted by one of the company officers and paid by the company itself. Such gatherings allow random people from the company to socialize and spend some quality time together.
The ‘mystery’ in these dinners is that no one knows who will be hosting them and no one has an idea who their guests will be until the dinner starts. People are told where do they have to go for the dinner and the host is notified to arrange for the number of people they are expected to receive. It is one of the most successful methods to remove communication barriers from the team.
How would you like to experience a day feeling that you are the navy seals or some other elite commandos on an immensely important mission? Well if that doesn’t get your adrenaline levels high I don’t know what will. Just grab the guns and prepare for the deadly paintball ‘WAR’. This game is not just about shooting people in the heart with paintballs rather it lets the team develop tactical and logical skills along with a ton of fun memories.
9. Personal Development Workshop
This may not sound fun but if you want to make the most out of your trip then it is worth considering. Teams learn better in a creative environment and the work sessions between you retreat may present the greatest learning opportunities for your team. These workshops can either be related to the technical side of your team’s work or can be about something bigger like negotiation, leadership or interpersonal skills enhancement workshop. Arranging keynotes for your team will also not be a bad idea for the positive development of your team.
10. Room Escape Games
If you want to arrange a team activity that includes the use of leadership skills, logic, teamwork, and patience, room escape games is your best choice. The examples include games like Puzzle Break, Escape the Rooms and Adventure Rooms etc.
The basics of these games are pretty simple. A group of people gets ‘locked’ in a room and the ‘key’ to their escape is hidden within the room. They have to find objects and solve puzzles to make their way out of the room within the stipulated time. It may seem easy but as a matter of fact, only a few people actually get to complete it within the designated time limit.
11. Volunteering Activities
Putting time and energies into a good cause is definitely good for the soul but it is also a good opportunity for your team members to bond. Some of the activities that you can volunteer for in your next trip include volunteering at a local kitchen for cooking food for the homeless, delivering gifts to children’s hospitals on off days, helping to build a Habitat for Humanity house, or even working at some animal shelter.
Volunteering based on the set of skills your team has can make the team’s abilities grow. This can include anything from marketing to developing a game or writing blog posts to developing a website for a nonprofit body. You can even search online for organizations and bodies that may require the type of skills your team has.
If you want the team to seriously learn and practice working together, nothing is more potent than trying to avoid from ending up in water. Just grab a canoe and head for the nearest water body. The activity is best to be carried out in summer or spring season.
The best thing is you don’t even have to spend the money to acquire some nice boat. Many rivers and lakes have a local boathouse where kayaks and canoes can be rented at reasonable rates and can be used for fun.
13. Trampoline Parks
If you have ever heard that trampolines are for kids then it is time for you to learn the truth. They are for everyone! If you are short on both budget and time and still want to make the best out of a day, go visit the nearest trampoline park with your team. Most of the cities have such parks. If you don’t know about one just search it out on Google and go hit the rubber to take out all the stress caused by the last hectic project.
You think your team has seen the whole city they are in? You might be wrong. Many of the team members may be indulged in work so much that they couldn’t have had a chance to visit the city and see all the important places in there. It is even possible that you might learn something new. Just ask everyone to pack the bags for a day, arrange something with wheels and enough seats for all of them and go explore the town or maybe get your best shoes on and start walking through the beautiful city.
The all-time favorite activity which will be enjoyed by nearly every member of the team is playing sports, may it be football, rugby or cricket. Sportsmanship creates a number of positive and healthy characteristics in the players. Ask the team what they would like playing, make teams and have a tournament. Keeping a prize or incentive for the winners can be a plus. To make things even more interesting, invite your business competitors to have a match against them in a friendly environment.
Such a healthily hectic day can end at a fine restaurant where everyone should sit and discuss the day and other matters helping people understand each other better.
16. Watching Games
If the team is not interested in hitting the ground then they will be likely interested in watching their favorite teams hit the ground while they sit back and open some chilled beers. Check out the schedules and sponsor the team’s tickets to the upcoming sports event nearby.
Last but not the least; consult your team about their favorite activities to be performed during the retreat. Think out of the box, plan stupid things for the retreat and do silly activities with your team. That’s how you can break all the barriers between the team and hope for it to rise beyond limits, to rise and shine!