20 May How to Plan a Retreat Your Guests Won’t Dread
It’s no secret that our culture values hard work and dedication to our jobs or careers. In fact, more than 85 percent of men and 66 percent of women in the U.S. put in more than 40 hours a week. When we’re already clocking more than 8 hours a day at the office, the last thing most of us want to do is surrender any more of our precious free time.
While corporate or company retreats are often meant to be rewards, more often than not, they mark a dreaded obligation, spending time with coworkers we may or may not like and time away from our family and friends, focusing on the work that we already spend too much time on.
If you want to plan a retreat that your employees will actually look forward to attending, you need to think outside the box. Skip the conference rooms or standard team building activities, and instead go for a vacation vibe that will help everyone relax and enjoy their time away from the office. Keep reading for a few smart tips to help you do just that.
The whole point of a retreat is to bring your employees or other guests together. Away from the work environment, they can get to know each other on a more personal level, which in turn will lead to better working relationships.
One mistake that many designated event planners make is to choose a popular city destination to host their event. While this means plenty for everyone to do, it also encourages separation. With museums, restaurants, casinos, and more to choose from, all located a long distance from each other, your guests are likely to form smaller groups and split up to enjoy their free time.
Instead, choose a retreat center in a remote location. A ranch or farm retreat still offers plenty for everyone to do, but in a secluded setting. Your guests will naturally come together to enjoy themselves, without the distractions of a big city.
Avoid an Office Setting
If you don’t want your employees to feel like they’re simply checking in for another day at the office, avoid bringing the office with you on your retreat. Allow for a casual dress code. Choose a setting that doesn’t feature conference rooms or meeting spaces. If you need to have a slideshow or video presentation, get creative and use a projector to show it outside, under the stars.
If you do decide to include training or information sessions, schedule them early in the day, and give your guests as much free time as you can. You want the fun to balance out the work in the end, so that your employees will go home with more positive memories than negative ones!
Don’t Over Plan
While leaving plenty of free time is important, it’s just as important to avoid over-scheduling that free time. Offer suggestions or options for your guests, but leave it up to them to decide what they want to do.
If you have a larger group or are worried that it will turn into smaller groups, plan for a few structured activities. A few great activities you can enjoy at Cougar Ridge and that double as team bonding opportunities include:
- Host a grill-out
- Enjoy a Private Rodeo
- Take a day trip to Zion National Park for hiking and sightseeing
- Plan a ‘night sky’ party
- Go on a group horseback ride
- Have a campfire night with s’mores and storytelling
- Host a volleyball tournament
- Schedule a group class, such as painting, beer or wine making, or even woodworking
- Got an adventurous group? Get their adrenaline pumping with wilderness dirt biking!
Sometimes it’s the simplest plans that can be the most effective. Planning outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, or even star gazing is not only a simple way to get your employees interacting with one another, but also a chance to help your guests reap the many benefits of time spent outside. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors gives us a boost of energy, improves our immune systems, enhances creativity, restores our focus, and more.
Book Your Corporate Retreat Early
No matter how creative your ideas are, if you fail to plan and book your retreat early, it’s unlikely to come together the way you’d like. When traveling with a group of any size, starting early is always key.
Pick your venue first, taking into consideration the types of activities available near the venue; the less traveling you have to do, the more time your guests will have to enjoy themselves. Coordinate any transportation, catering, tours, or tickets that you’ll need far in advance of the retreat to avoid having to rethink plans at the last minute if things are sold out or full.
Planning a Retreat Your Guests will Love
Planning a corporate, company, or other retreat doesn’t have to be stressful. With a little smart planning and a dose of creativity, you can plan a fun retreat that your guests will love!