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Company retreats have, well, retreated since the economic downturn of 2008. While the economy has picked back up, many organizations have failed to establish or reestablish company retreats. However, organizations might want to rethink that decision, as company retreats can have a significant impact on a business’ productivity, morale, and collaboration.
A company retreat is an event attended by all employees at a company. In most cases, a retreat is held at an offsite location that gives employees the opportunity to focus on company growth, team building, and other ideas unrelated to regular work tasks.
So what are company retreats for? One main benefit of corporate retreats is that they provide a chance for employees to bond and get to know each other outside of a formal office setting. But because managers and supervisors are present at company retreats, there is still a sense of professionalism that allows an environment for collaboration and ideation. Many companies use retreats as a way to think outside the box when it comes to their business — perhaps to focus on a new company vision or brainstorm new ways to structure their teams.
Almost every company might benefit from a company retreat, as it gives all employees the chance to reset and think differently. The following are a few ways that a company retreat may be good for your business, and why you might consider holding regular business retreats.
A company retreat takes you and your team out of the realm of everyday repetitiveness. It can be hard for everyone to relax and break away from the idea that constant action is needed to be productive. Some activities during the retreat should be geared toward getting everyone to focus on the present moment. Employers can encourage their employees to embrace the chance to slow down, and to really contemplate the reason they’re there.
In some respects, a retreat can be better for getting employees to truly unwind than an actual vacation. A certain amount of guilt often follows employees on vacation as they feel that they have abandoned their post and wonder how everything is running without them. Some of the retreat can focus on helping them to let go of those feelings of guilt so they are able to not only enjoy the retreat, but future vacations as well.
Most company retreats have a deep focus on teamwork and trust, with the “trust fall” coming to mind for many when a retreat is even mentioned. While it may seem cliché, trust-building exercises can work wonders when the team gets back to the office. Creating a deeper level of loyalty and comradery between peers can help to naturally form a company culture in which everyone feels included.
It’s important for company retreats to have the right balance of productivity and fun, and team-building activities can accomplish both. Employees will enjoy getting to know one another through activities such as games, brainstorming competitions, and workshops. And when you get back into the office, employees will understand each other better, opening the door to more effective communication.
A retreat exercise that some companies find helpful is one where employees get into groups and talk about their work-related dreams or nightmares. This exercise can be fun and social, but also brings to light problems and opportunities that may never have been exposed otherwise. Talking about dreams is a little bit less pressure-filled than talking about perceived problems.
This type of exercise may also allow employees to relate to one another and forge stronger relationships. Learning that others share the same fears and see the same opportunities within the company can be reassuring and can help to take your company to the next level.
Employers may only know some employees on a surface level. Maybe they have an idea of how they perform on the job, but have no idea what hobbies or skills they possess. Employee retreats give employers the chance to see workers when they are more relaxed, helping their real side come out more than it might during a business meeting.
Some of the activities and outings encountered in any retreat take you and your employees out of the normal range of actions that are performed daily at the job. This can be incredibly helpful for uncovering hidden talents that may prove to be useful on a daily basis back at the office or when succession planning. You may be surprised to see the broad range of strengths that some employees have.
A company retreat sounds luxurious, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Even a retreat that is somewhat close to home and on the budget side can be extremely effective at bringing your employees out of their shell and helping you see some opportunities for both them and your company. If you want to stick to a modest budget but still allow employees to relax during a company retreat, look into hosting the event at a hotel, in a park, or at a company owner’s residence. The important thing is that employees get the space and freedom to let loose and tap into their creativity.
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