Ah, away days. The corporate equivalent of a mandatory school trip, they often drum up more dread than delight. They can feel more like a cringe-worthy episode of 'The Office' rather than a valuable and enjoyable experience designed for employee engagement. But do not fear, because we're here to reveal that it doesn't have to be this way.
At the helm of organising off-sites for some of the world's most respected teams & brands, we’ve encountered it all and picked up a few tricks along the way. Today, we're sharing four game-changing tips that will convert your dreary away days into engaging, memorable, and genuinely enjoyable events. Here we go:
In every office, there's always a handful of individuals who seem to have an endless supply of complaints. A recent study by the University of Maryland revealed that such persistent negativity could dampen overall morale. If you try to appease these naysayers, you risk watering down the experience for the rest.
So, our advice? Give it a rest. Instead, concentrate on designing an away day that will thrill the majority. If 95% of your team are having a blast, we reckon that's a roaring success.
Here's where many away days go wrong; they’re over-scheduled. A 2018 study by the American Psychological Association found that free time is a significant contributor to perceived well-being & collaboration. An itinerary crammed tighter than a London tube at rush hour might give you a sense of control, but it denies your team the chance to let their hair down and connect organically.
So, lighten up the schedule, plan activities, but also leave plenty of room for casual banter and camaraderie.
The environment of your away day can make or break the event. Want to kick creativity into high gear? A study by Stanford University found that nature strolls could boost creativity and problem-solving skills.
So, why not swap the fluorescent-lit conference room for the great outdoors? Break free from city constraints, explore the countryside, and offer your team experiences they wouldn't typically encounter during their daily 9-to-5 grind. You'll be amazed at the fresh ideas and perspectives that can sprout amidst greenery.
At The Tempest Two, we recently moved our main office from central London to the rolling hills of Oxfordshire. We now have a space that is surrounded by perfect countryside, and acts as an incredible venue to run sessions with our clients.
The 'honeymoon' period post-away day is a well-documented phenomenon. There's an initial buzz, employees are energised, and the team appears more cohesive...for a fortnight. Then, quicker than you can say 'fill out this survey', it's back to the old routine.
To swerve this pitfall, make sure you've got a plan in place to keep the spirit of the away day alive. Think of a new initiative, a specific communication strategy, or a follow-up programme that keeps the good vibes rolling. After all,
If you want to hear more about our away-days, check out our Adventure Mindset days