At Namibia Planners, we have been immersed in the business of team brainstorm breakaways, team-building getaways and corporate retreats for years. In our part of the world, we are particularly lucky to have so many venues where companies can get out of a rut, change their mindsets and refresh their teams, far from conventional office restrictions.
In an article on the benefits of team building and corporate retreats, Human Resources consultant Amaury de Saint Blanquat points out that “team building activities and corporate retreats are met with scrutiny” because “some companies believe they lose out on valuable office time. In reality, this time away provides employees with a moment to step back and reevaluate their work. They head back to the office with renewed energy and vigour which transforms into happier and more productive employees.”
In this article we list some benefits of team building mini getaways or corporate retreats for your business.
Pressing the Refresh button
Ideas, ultimately, generate income, and problem solving is critical to optimal business functioning. However, sometimes those ideas just aren’t forthcoming.
Have you ever wished your team could just press a Control-Alt-Delete sequence and reset their thinking? A break in routine can make people liven up enormously, shift stale energy and disrupt stuck thought patterns.
If no one seems to be able to resolve a problem or come up with new ideas, chances are a change of scenery and breaking routine habits by going on a breakaway session is an excellent choice.
Staff feeling valued & pampered
Let’s face it, a break-away at company expense always feels like a bit of a treat, even though it’s not a holiday. The fact that you’ve set aside both funding and valuable time for your staff sends a very strong message that you are invested in them and value their input. (It also makes it clear that whatever you want them to focus on at the retreat is strategically very important. This should imbue their work with a sense of purpose).
This can be particularly helpful if your team is feeling over-worked and under-appreciated, but it is a bit like buying a loved one flowers. It is best not to wait until after you’ve had a fight or failed at your marriage.
Wise management proactively organise strategic breakaways or corporate retreats at least once a year, rather than only introducing them as a rescue remedy once everyone is already frazzled and fed up.
As business talent recruitment and coaching consultants Odgers Berndtson point out, team building breakaways can also be used as a reward for work well done, or something to look forward to if a project such as a product launch is successful.
A chance to bond or reconnect with co-workers
Just as families are often happier and more relaxed on holiday, and so tend to have more fun together than on an average work day, so too you might see another side of colleagues on a breakaway.
Because you eat together and possibly dress more casually, often interacting in beautiful nature, you tend to see a softer, or more lively dimension to colleagues.
Shared experiences outside the office provide a spark of connection that can help team members bond, which is why team building exercises are so popular. You get bonus points if you can add in something fun like a drumming circle.
Chat to the venues you have in mind, as they will know of all kinds of wonderful service providers who can help your team reconnect in creative and energising ways.
Improved relationships mean improved teamwork and more efficient communication, so this is an investment in happier, more productive staff that should pay dividends for a long time to come.
Reduced stress equals freed-up mental energy and boosts creativity
While at a breakaway, many of your day-today needs, such as snacks and mealtimes, will be taken care of by the staff at your hotel, lodge or conference venue. You also don’t need to commute to work in traffic for a short while.
All of this can help relieve stress and free up mental energy for employees to focus on your strategic company goals or to absorb training.
It can also help break poor self-care habits among colleagues. This can be especially noticeable with those driven folks who tend to get ratty after running on an empty stomach and too much coffee all morning. On a corporate retreat, you might see a whole new person emerge all because of a good game lodge breakfast and a ten o’clock muffin-on-demand!
If a team member is a parent of young children or has elderly relatives to care for, and they’ve had to farm out that responsibility for a day or two, you may notice their relief at not having to plan the day’s meals, school pick-ups and grocery shopping.
A wise boss doesn’t add to family responsibility stress by removing staff from their families too often or for too long. However, a brief break once or twice a year can have you see that permanently exhausted new father or distracted busy mom get their creative mojo back.
These moments can provide openings for a sensitive employer or HR manager to notice and start a private discussion on how a team member is coping with work-life balance – something that can be much more challenging to pick up on in the office.
Your kindness and attentiveness in these retreat spaces will pay dividends in the long term in a loyal and committed employee who will be as dedicated to your company’s goals as they are to supporting their family or persuing personal career ambitions.
Corporate retreats and team building breaks can be tremendously beneficial to your company if you are strategic about them and plan them with both your company and your employee’s needs in mind. After all, everyone needs ‘a break in the old routine’ in order to be creative, and something uplifting to sustain their energy.
Can’t be with your team right now? Take a look at our article on how to be a team player when you aren’t with your team!