With many companies adopting more flexible work arrangements, remote-first workplaces have been on the rise. While virtual teams offer numerous benefits, they can also pose unique communication and collaboration challenges because team members are physically distant from one another. In-person retreats help to counteract these issues by encouraging face-to-face interaction, team building, open communication and shared experiences outside of work.
As an internal communications agency that focuses on enhancing the employee experience, corporate retreat planning is a service we offer our clients; and last month we applied our skills and experience to create an impactful three-day retreat for our own remote team. Below are four key benefits retreats can provide and how we maximized those opportunities for our team.
- Building relationships: Remote workers may communicate with each other regularly across multiple channels, but meeting in person gives the opportunity to establish a stronger relationship. Consider incorporating activities into the retreat that foster collaboration and can pressure test ways of working challenges.
How we maximized the opportunity: We took part in collaborative team building exercises to practice project management techniques, explore the roles within a team, and learn from our colleagues what worked, what didn’t and why.
- Boosting morale: Remote work can cause employees to feel disconnected from their team or company culture. A retreat can help to reinforce a bond among colleagues, which can in turn boost morale and motivation. According to TravelPerk, 25% of remote employees miss regularly interacting with their peers. If your organization recently hit a big milestone or finished a long-term project, a retreat could also serve as a celebration of your wins plus a big “thank you” to those who were involved.
How we maximized the opportunity: We opened each day of our retreat with an icebreaker game to get to know each other on a more personal level. We also took a deep dive into the five core values that guide our team and our agency, and discussed what each of those values means to us.
- Improving communication: When working remotely, communication can be more challenging since you don’t have the opportunity for casual conversations. Any communication needs to be intentional. An in-person retreat can provide an opportunity for employees to practice active listening and effective communication, which can improve teamwork and productivity. It also offers the chance to better understand colleagues’ body language, tone of voice and facial expressions when working together remotely in the future.
How we maximized the opportunity: We conducted a workshop to learn how to become more effective communicators and discover how we can communicate effectively within our team as well as externally or on behalf of clients.
- Learning and development: Retreats can provide the space for employees to enhance existing capabilities or learn new skills. These opportunities can help employees feel more invested in their professional development and can spark creativity and innovation at work. Another TravelPerk study noted that more than one third of employees find that their most creative ideas happen outside of a traditional work environment.
How we maximized the opportunity: Our team participated in a workshop where we learned some easy to apply techniques to improve posture and reduce stress, which can be applied even when sitting at our desks. We also opened up on a deeper level during an insightful session with renowned speaker Scott Chesney.
An in-person retreat can be a valuable investment for remote and hybrid teams to enhance relationships, boost morale, improve communication, and provide opportunities for learning and development. Connect with us to learn more about our experience in this space and how we can plan and execute an unforgettable retreat for your team.