In part 1 of this blog piece we began by offering some structure to help with the initial planning steps for corporate and team retreats. For part 2 we now dive into the fun parts and explore some of our favorite themes and concepts for gathering teams and creating collaborative moments.
It’s time to choose a team activity! And probably the bane of any HR’s existence, as they single handedly hold the keys to ‘office success’. Will accounting be ok with going outside? How do we keep sales from being the first ones drunk again? I have to make sure there are NO tech issues or IT will blow a retreat gasket…..It’s a lot to take in. So here are our Top 5 retreat themes that will keep everyone engaged, happy and cohesive. HR for the Win!
We start with the most obvious, the charitable team building concept. Donating your time to a local food bank. Volunteering as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters Alaska. Offering to visit and provide a meal for the Anchorage Covenant House homeless shelter. Does your town have a certain issue that strikes a cord with the staff or aligns well with the company mission? Homelessness, food insecurity, a large elder population, troubled youth. While the issues themselves can feel a little heavy, make sure to keep the teams focused on their ability to proactively reach out and positively impact their community. It helps build empathy and to recognize people and life outside of their cubicle.
Let’s swing the pendulum back the other way now, and highlight a concept that is pure let-your-hair-down fun. No stress, all giggles. For this we love to break the staff into smaller teams for a city-wide adventure concept, and partly because it works so well in a variety of themes. Such as the scavenger hunt for a list of items that takes a group all around town. The treasure hunt full of clues along the way to the final prize. Or the adventure race that includes tasks or challenges along the way, is timed, and leads to one overall winner. Design a format, set the rules, and release your team to run around the city exploring. Perhaps this could be for ingredients needed for a cooking class you will all do together later. Or maybe the finale location is where you will have cocktails to wind down the night. This concept offers so many fun ways to set it up, that it really allows your team to be creative, carefree and simply enjoy their time together.
Sorry accounting, but we’re doing a ropes course today. Did you say ropes course? Yeah we did. But it could be anything really – a river rafting trip, a hike to a nice viewpoint for a picnic, bike rides around the city, a trampoline gym, or learning to rock climb perhaps. Whatever it may be, we love this concept for the group that needs to be shaken up (just a little). Sometimes in (work) life we can all get caught up in taking ourselves a little too seriously, and we forget that we work with other humans who have interests and hobbies. This concept really helps to strip away the office, and gives everyone a chance to see each other for who they are. When people are in regular clothes, sweating, breathing fresh air, and relying on a coworker to not drop them when on belay, amazing the camaraderie this builds? Who knew accounting was so limber after all..
I mean – why not right?! Sure – pretty standard concept here, but popular because who doesn’t love the opportunity for an out of office excursion to eat good food. We suggest a group cooking class where teams can either create a multi-course meal the group will all eat together. Or perhaps the Top Chef style cooking competition, where each team judges the other. Maybe it’s a potluck style picnic where everyone brings their one favorite dish. Or keep it simple and treat the team to a casual sit down lunch the town over. Food brings people together, offers opportunity for connection, deeper dialogue, and just a very simple way to relax and get to know each other.
We simply love this idea, and see time and time again how this can really energize and bring life to a quiet and distant team. Perhaps it’s a group painting class, or an opportunity to collectively paint a giant mural on a wall in your city. Sit down for a pottery workshop or Taiko drumming lesson. Allowing for the creative juices to flow provides wonderful personal and team benefits such as an emphasis on collaboration, positive reinforcement and a release of stress, problem solving, thinking outside the box, and an overall development of creative thinking. Let’s face it, a lot of our jobs these days require mostly left brain thinking. So give your team a chance to fire up the ole’ right brain for a change.
Need Help With Your Next Company Retreat?
We can help by :
- Choosing the location
- Hotel bookings and room blocks
- Scheduling activities
- Transfers and on the ground in-market execution
For more creative ideas contact our event experts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907.302.2323