Even though anyone in business has heard the phrase “work hard play hard” 10 million times to many, it’s always great when you’re able to go play after work and enjoy life, looking back on your hardwork in appreciation.
Many businesses and organizations plan annual or bi-annual retreats for their members and employees, not only as a time to relax and recharge the batteries but also to show appreciation for everyone for all the hard work they put in during the year. It’s time to get out of the office and onto somewhere more enjoyable.
If you’re thinking about or are in the midst of planning a retreat, check out the following guide to help you along the way. Your employees and/or members will all thank you later!
Think of the Goal
While everyone has business goals laid out during the year, like reaching a certain sales quota or expanding your business, you should also have a goal for your retreat. What are your aims?
Are you simply providing a day or weekend for everyone to have some fun in the sun or are you going to use it as a team-building exercise? Will the retreat be all about playing or will there be some business thrown in there as well? Are families going to be invited or is this work colleagues only?
When it comes to your goal, there is no wrong goal to pursue but make sure you have a clear plan and stick to that plan from the beginning.
You’re planning a retreat for lots of people, it’d be good to get some ideas from your colleagues. While some of them may be good and go with the flow, others might have a preference for what they want out of the retreat.
Be sure and lend an open year to what it is they want and what they’d like to get out of it. It’s supposed to be a retreat, not an obligated work trip. Make it fun and light while doing your best to find the middle ground amongst all employees or members.
Keep in mind you can’t make everyone super happy, but showing effort that you were listening to others is a great way to respect other people’s feelings.
Start Out Early With your Itinerary
There are some things that people just never grow out of, and one of those is asking about plans. Just like children will constantly ask “Are we there yet?” your colleagues will start to ask “So, what’s the plan?”
If you are going to a certain area that specializes in retreats and outings, they may already have a plan laid out for everyone and may let you tweak things here and there.
If you’re the one coming up with the plan, start out early and have as many organized activities as possible. These organized activities can also be planned free-time, letting people go for a walk or sit around and play cards.
Getting this itinerary to people early is also key. You can email it out as soon as you want, but it will also be good to print out copies and hand out to everyone so they can’t make the excuse of not checking their email or forgetting to print if off themselves. When it’s in their hands, they won’t have any excuse to make!
Plan the Logistics Out Ahead of Time
Before you can get to your zip-lining and other team building activities, you actually have to get there first. Make sure you start out months ahead of time when it comes to booking your transportation and accommodation. These items to go fast.
Even though the best time to book a hotel may be just a few days before your planned trip, chances are it’s going to be hard to find hotel rooms for dozens of people just three days before your planned trip.
Also, make sure when you go on a website you’re reading to buy the hotels. Many travel websites have cookies that will track the number of times you visit their website and look at certain dates for hotels, flights, car rentals, etc. and prices will gradually increase over time.
Set up an email alert or browse in incognito mode to give you the best results.