Company retreats are becoming more and more popular in a workforce dominated by the internet and 24/7 connectivity. Finding a way to disconnect your employees from their typical environments and cultivate an atmosphere of interdependence is going to be an uphill battle.
However, before you cancel your company retreat in place of a larger party or staff event, remember that offsite retreats do far more than hurt the company’s bottom line. If executed correctly, your company retreat can cover its own cost in increased productivity, higher efficiency of employees, and new idea and goal-generation.
These are just a few of the ways a company retreat can work to your advantage—but many of the benefits may be a bit shocking to you.
To help you plan your company retreat, why not consider these six unexpected benefits of hosting your own?
1. A Refocused Workforce
Most company retreats are designed to improve productivity, but many companies aren’t entirely sure how to approach the concept. All too often, companies will plan “refocusing” sessions specifically designed to force employees to work harder—all during what’s supposed to be the retreat!
The truth is, there’s no singular thing your company can do to promote refocusing at your company retreat, but at the same time, one of the best benefits of taking retreats is a refocused group. At an effective company retreat, employees can take a respite from the normal workday, but still, interact with and involve other employees of the company.
The result is a workforce that’s gained a bit of understanding not only of each other but of the common goals and the needs of the company.
2. Gaining Closure
Did your company miss the last quarterly milestone, or lose a particularly important client?
One of the more unique benefits of a company retreat is giving your employees time to come to terms with failure and find ways to move on and prevent future problems.
You may be tempted to force your company culture into the retreat and focus only exclusively on positive discussions and forward growth. But if your employees have been harboring resentment or need to vent about problems at work, a retreat is a good place to do so. Just be sure to prevent any unnecessary gossip concerning these issues.
Discussing failure will give employees time to release themselves of any guilt or continued emotional stress concerning the incident, and can help solve interpersonal communication issues that may stem from these issues.
Your employees will be more prepared and more excited to tackle the problems headed their way if they know what they can do to prevent issues and problems.
3. New Perspectives
Your company retreat will also force your employees to socialize with each other in ways that extend far beyond the scope of the company. That means that new perspectives are going to develop and cultivate that could never happen in an office setting.
For example, if different departments never interact with each other physically but often need to collaborate on projects, having these departments interact in person at the retreat will help them to understand the problem from the other side.
Seeing new perspectives within the same company will give your employees more empathy and understanding when it comes to working with each other. Likewise, your employees will be grateful for the opportunity they’ve had to talk to people within the company that they may have never interacted with before.
Reconnection is also a major element to company retreats and can come from a retreat placed after a particularly stressful quarter.
Some of your employees may enjoy communicating with or talking with their peers, but be unable to interact with them in the work setting. This often happens in team-based organization or organizations with a major customer-facing component.
Now, with projects, clients, and customers out of the way, your employees can work to reconnect with each other and respect each other on a more personal level. Reconnection is vital for better understanding and inter-organizational communication, so be sure to focus on this crucial element of your retreat during the planning stages.
5. Eliminate Seniority
At work, coming to a closer understanding of direct and indirect superiors can be difficult. In the typical work day, the work hierarchy influences the way we talk to, communicate with, and think about certain people.
At a company retreat, the hierarchy is removed, and the business ties that influence discussions no longer exist. Those lower in the chain of command can talk to those directly above them without fear of judgment or discipline.
A company retreat can act as a sort of great equalizer and help your workers understand that each person in the chain, no matter their placement, is valuable.
6. Travel Perks
The final benefit of a company retreat is, of course, the location of the retreat itself.
Company retreats are great ways to take your employees out of their comfort zones—giving them an environment that contrasts their own. Urban companies often work to find rural areas outside of their respective environments to take their employees from the urban jungle to the great outdoors.
There are many perks of travel; including the new experienced gained, and in some cases, the understanding of a new culture. Of course, you don’t need to take your employees across the world to give them their perspective. For example, NYC companies are at the benefit of having lots of options for corporate retreats near NYC.
So be sure to look in your neck of the woods for an environment that will contrast your company’s home base. You’ll be glad you did, as your employees are forced out of their comfort zones and focused on each other as well as enjoying the environment you’ve taken them too.
Ultimately, there are untold numbers of reasons why your company needs to consider a company retreat. But we hope that our six unexpected reasons here have given you the push you need to get the ball rolling and get your employees out of the office.
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.