Why your office needs a corporate away day (and how to plan one)
Is your team in a slump? Do you notice that everyone is working in the same space but not actually working together? Do you know your team’s names, but have no idea about their personal lives or hobbies? If, so you might need to think about corporate away days.
While they may sound cheesy at first, they’re actually a great way to help your team build relationships out of the office. After building those relationships, they can translate them to inside the office, creating a much stronger team. After your away day, you may notice friendships forming and a better team spirit.
Read on for some of the benefits of corporate away days.
Learning More About Your Team
One great benefit of corporate away days is that you’ll learn more about your team. If you take your team out of the office and put them in a different environment, you’ll see how they adapt to different situations.
You may learn things about your team you never knew. They may even learn things about themselves during a really successful away day.
In addition to learning about your team’s personal lives and interests, you’ll learn how they cope with solving problems. Many away days involve some sort of problem-solving or team building exercise. In this way, you’ll be able to pick activities that can help bring out new or hidden talents.
Corporate Away Days Can Foster New Skills
If you need your team to get better at a certain activity, you can plan an away day that addresses it specifically. Or, you can use your time away for all of you to learn a new skill together.
This skill doesn’t need to be immediately transferrable to your office environment. It might help expand your minds and open you up to new approaches.
Or get together to learn something that will improve your day-to-day work. You’ll all have a new skill you’ve taken on together, and one you might be able to add to a future CV.
It Builds Your Team
This may be a no-brainer, but corporate away days, especially with team building activities, really do build your team’s skills. Some people may find team building activities cheesy or corny, but they exist for a reason: they work.
If you notice your team’s skills in working together are lacking, have them do something that requires that they work together as a team. This doesn’t necessarily mean trust falls or other such exercises that often come to mind when thinking about team building. There are many simple company activities you can pick that build team spirit.
Or, you can do something as out of the ordinary as taking your team camping or having them navigate rope courses or outdoor adventures. All these activities foster a little bit of competition, but also make your team need to work together to complete a task.
It Builds Morale and Lifts Spirits
It’s no secret that going to work every day, working on a computer until 5pm and then catching the train home can be monotonous and a little bit depressing. People need things to look forward to in their lives, and you can do that with your company away day.
Most people look forward to company away days because it’s a chance to let loose and break away from the confines of the office. It allows them to let their hair down and be a bit more of the person they are away from the office. Simply being away from the office for a day can boost spirits and morale.
Hosting a corporate away day can also be a way to let your employees know you appreciate them. If you never reward them with anything or let them know they’re doing a good job, they may feel undervalued or unappreciated.
They’re also a good way to break the tension if you’re having issues in your office or you’ve had a lot of stress surrounding a particular project. It allows everyone to finally breathe.
In some cases, corporate away days can even help you fix dynamic issues in your office. You can work together to solve some of the problems that create a negative environment and turn it into something positive.
Planning an Away Day as a Celebration
An away day doesn’t necessarily have to be all about team building and strengthening your business. It can simply be about appreciating all your employees do for you. And it can be about allowing your team members to let their hair down and have a bit of fun. In corporate environments, sometimes fun isn’t a priority, so getting away from the office is a great way to simply allow them to do so.
Having an away day as a celebration also fosters relationships on a personal level. You may not be doing team building exercises, but you’ll actually be talking to your teammates about their kids or dogs instead of the report that’s due tomorrow.
Take Your Corporate Away Day Offsite
When you schedule a company away day, you actually need to get away from your work. This means don’t schedule an “away day” that takes place in your office but takes a break from your regular activities. That doesn’t really allow your workers to have a mental delineation between work and the activities you’re doing.
Many locations offer specific events catered to corporates or away days. You can centre it around an activity or an actual place, like a location that hosts retreats.
This can also push employees out of their comfort zones, which is a great way to help them adapt and build further skills.
You may even want to include an overnight getaway for your employees. For some, this may be a little bit uncomfortable, but it will force you to bond outside the norms of the office.
If you assign employees hotel rooms, or rooms at the retreat, in pairs or in groups, they’ll also learn a lot about one another. They will inevitably bond with the person they’re sharing a room with, which can only strengthen their bond in the office.
Additionally, having evening drinks or time to chill out together is another great way to bond on a whole other level. Some of the best conversations happen after 10pm!
Invite an Outsider
You don’t need to confine your away days to just your group. To bring an extra element, include advice or talks from someone who doesn’t work at your office.
This allows you, as well as your colleagues, to get a fresh perspective and some new ideas. It also can allow your team to consider things that may work well with your office that they may not have thought of before.
Sometimes, it takes someone coming in and shaking things up a little to rearrange your strategy.
Let Everyone Know Your Away Day’s Purpose
Whether your away day is about team building or celebrating, your team should be aware of its purpose. Don’t create an away day that is a little bit murky so that your employees don’t know what to expect. Instead, be clear ahead of time what the away day is about.
You may even want to include a theme, especially if your away day is about team building or fostering relationships. This can help your team start thinking along those lines as they experience the away day.
Our free Collaboration Playbook features over 20 great ideas for fostering collaboration in your team. This jam-packed guide includes insights from Google, IDEO, Deloitte, Apple and more.