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Plan the Perfect Office Retreat

May 27, 2016 10:45AM ● By MED Magazine

By Carmella Biesiot


Retreats are becoming more popular than ever before as employers recognize the importance of taking a break from the routine, ditching the electronics, and coming together outside of the work place. These guidelines will help you create the perfect experience for your team whether you manage just a few people, or a large corporation.


Create a “Loose” Agenda


Plan, but not too much. Create an agenda that has open ended items for discussion; after all, this is not a meeting, it is a retreat. Allow your agenda to take off into different directions and don’t fret if an agenda item takes off into a completely different topic than intended. In fact, plan for it to happen!


Keep it Casual


The atmosphere should be collected and carefree. A break from typical business attire is a must. If possible, your gathering should avoid electronics. Keep things simple and comfortable; the opposite of a conference-style setting. When people are comfortable and relaxed, they tend to produce ideas and absorb the subject matter with positivity.


There Is No “I” in Team


If you are the manager, you are used to leading and directing. I

challenge you to put someone else in charge of the retreat, or have everyone take a turns at leading a topic. This will empower your team and make them take control, thus knowing that they are important. You will learn about their point of view which will make you a better boss.


Location is Important


Obviously, your retreat is not at the office, but where do you go? I suggest taking your meeting off of the beaten path-get creative. If possible, choose an outdoor venue such as a park or pavilion. If that is not possible, think of a unique place that you might not associate a meeting place with such as a museum, art gallery, yoga studio, or even a lounge. The location of your retreat is the first thing that your attendees are going to think about prior to

the event date. If it is a fun and creative venue, they will be anxious and excited before it even starts.


Keep Discussions Positive


It is very important to avoid whining and ranting. All too often, when

colleagues are placed in any sort of setting outside of the office,

complaining occurs. Be mindful of this possibility and make it clear that this is not acceptable. If someone wants to highlight a problem or conflict, a solution must follow their statement.


Set Goals


Goals are a way to keep everyone committed and focused.

Let your team know at the beginning of the retreat (or prior to) that they are to come up with two goals for the year; one personal and one professional. They will share these goals with the entire group at the end of the retreat. Follow up with those goals the following year. This will keep them engaged and focused on being better, not to mention bragging rights at the next gathering.


Carmella Biesiot is Director of Hotel Sales & Marketing at the Lodge at Deadwood Gaming Resort.



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