10 Company Retreat Ideas for Your Remote Team to Bond
According to TravelPerk, 34% of employees claim their best and most creative ideas were born on a business trip. This percentage is even higher among younger generations: an informal corporate event in an exciting location can skyrocket your team’s creativity without ever returning to the office.
When you run a distributed, remote team, meeting all your co-workers in one place can be even more significant for team bonding and enhancing teamwork and productivity. A well-organized company offsite helps your team members relax and get to know each other while enabling you to build a healthy company culture.
If you’re not feeling inspired, we’re sharing our list of the most inspiring and fun ideas to help you plan a memorable company retreat.
Why organize a company retreat?
Not convinced you really need to host a company retreat? Here are the five main reasons why you should start planning one now.
- A 2022 survey showed that many remote workers feel disconnected from their co-workers. Team offsites can help battle that feeling of isolation and help teams reconnect.
- According to a university professor, Scott Hall, spending time in nature has therapeutic benefits. Spending as much as 15 minutes outdoors can improve your focus and cognitive skills, which can be beneficial when brainstorming new processes or products.
- Being able to put a whole person behind the face you see on Zoom or the name you chat with on Slack increases trust among team members.
- Company retreats are typically informal and allow teams to have fun and relieve stress. That helps avoid employee burnout that commonly occurs among remote workers.
- Adding non-verbal cues we usually lack on virtual calls and seeing a person’s facial expressions and gestures more clearly can help co-workers communicate more effectively in the future.
10 ideas for a great company retreat
It may be challenging to develop a company offsite that suits everyone on a fully distributed team and fits your pricing guidelines. These ten ideas range from spending time in nature to organizing cooking classes. We’re sure you’ll find an activity idea for your remote crew, whether you’re planning for a large group of people or a small team.
Reconnect with nature while camping
Camping (or even glamping!) can be an excellent way to combine these curative effects of nature with having fun with your team.
This activity is typically budget-friendly, you’ll have to rely on teamwork to build a campfire and put up the tents, and you can engage in many outdoor activities, such as hiking or swimming, depending on the location. Spending time in nature is very good for your health, and camping allows you to discuss wellness with your team and share tips and tricks for maintaining physical and mental health.
Explore some great locations for camping and glamping here.
Test your problem-solving skills in an escape room
Nothing brings people together like a common enemy! Or, in this case, a problem that needs to be resolved. Escape rooms are not only a fun way to engage your remote team members but also:
- A chance for people from different teams to work together towards a common goal and enhance teamwork
- An opportunity for everyone to work on their problem-solving skills
Escape rooms have become increasingly popular over the past decade, so you’ll likely find one wherever you decide to organize your company retreat. Some of the best (and most challenging) escape rooms can be found in Amsterdam, Seoul, Marseilles, Dublin, Budapest, Los Angeles, Nashville, and San Francisco.
Have fun in a scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts give a wonderful dash of adventure to your company retreat. Companies typically choose one of the two ways to organize a scavenger hunt:
- A scavenger hunt to explore the teams: give your co-workers tasks such as:
- Find someone who has the same taste in music as you
- Find someone who can speak more than three languages
- Find someone who doesn’t like to cook
- A scavenger hunt to explore the location you’re at: give your co-workers tasks such as:
- Find an ideal spot to watch the stars at night
- Find a plant you’ve never seen before
- Find a coffee shop with a vintage interior
This activity encourages cross-team communication and helps people identify co-workers with similar interests and hobbies. Don’t forget to organize a reward for the team who first crosses off everything from their to-find list!
Get active in playing sports
Playing sports is a classic if you want to awaken your team’s competitive spirit and organize an active retreat. Sports promote teamwork and fair play more than any other retreat activity and guarantee a lot of laughter as they’re usually more about effort, not talent.
The range of available options depends on your location, but you might have a tennis court, a beach, or a hiking trail nearby. Beach volleyball, kayaking, ziplining, and maybe even extreme sports for adrenaline junkies—are all fun activities that most people want to participate in.
Remember that sports activities usually need to be planned ahead because of potential reservations, so call the retreat venue or sports center timely to secure your team’s spot.
Awaken your creativity with arts and crafts
A way to make your retreat even more unforgettable is to allow your entire team to bring something home as a memory. And why not make it something they’ve created on their own?
Pottery or painting classes are a great way to express your creativity or emotions. Still, they can also be turned into a fun team-building exercise. Have your team members:
- Make coffee mugs for each other
- Paint each other’s portraits
- “Redesign” the company logo
- Paint a picture together
Boost teamwork with a brainstorming session
Offsite meeting rooms can be more inspiring than onsite ones. Sometimes, a simple change in your work environment can flow your creative juices and help you think outside the box.
Throw a brainstorming session into your company retreat and see how many great ideas your co-workers can come up with when not under the pressure of formal circumstances. You can warm the team up with a company trivia quiz or a casual chat about company goals and how everyone is aligned with them.
To keep the meeting atmosphere informal and relaxed, you can skip the conference room and hold the session outdoors, in the fresh air.
Let your inner child play on a game night
What’s a team-building retreat without a game night? Games serve for pure fun, but there’s some science behind including them in your retreat.
Laughter sends our brains a signal that we’re in a safe environment where we can feel comfortable being ourselves. There’s nothing better for a healthy, inclusive company culture than employees who feel they can bring their full selves to work, team building activities and events, or any other gathering with their co-workers.
Your game night can include outdoor activities such as going to a karaoke bar where you’ll organize a singing contest and “staycation” games like Pictionary, trivia quizzes, charades, etc.
Meet other cultures through traditional foods and drinks
The biggest benefit of working in a distributed team is that you have a chance to learn more about different cultures and traditions. Your co-workers will surely share their experiences while chatting about their home countries. Still, the most delicious way to get to know a culture is through traditional dishes and drinks. Have your team members cook together and prepare meals that are considered classic in their countries.
As the cherry on top, have your team take a mixology class and create a company drink together. Don’t forget to come up with a cool name, too!
Invest in education & visit a conference
Introduce a dash of education in your retreat and take your team to a conference or lecture related to your industry. This activity might take some more planning, but listening to their favorite speaker will elevate the whole retreat experience for your employees.
For example, if you’re interested in tech conferences, you can see the 2022 schedule here.
After the conference, you can organize a follow-up session with your team and talk about the lecture, share your key takeaways, and brainstorm ways you can use your new learnings to improve your company product or service.
Explore new places together
There must be a city that no one on your team has visited before. That’s the ideal opportunity to book a trip for your remote team and organize an adventure where you’ll have fun and learn something new.
Before taking off, create a list of all the sights you shouldn’t miss in the new city, book a guide to help you get to know your destination, and make the necessary reservations for accommodation, museums, art galleries, and other attractions.
3 things to remember before planning your company retreat
Work retreat planning takes time to be executed well. Here are three things to remember before you’re off to your team getaway.
You should prepare a plan
As the retreat planner, you need to have a retreat agenda because you will need to plan activities and accommodation ahead, especially if you plan to rent bikes, boats, hire ski instructors, etc. Also, some activities will require ice-breakers since not everyone will be ready to simply start chatting with people they haven’t seen in person before.
However, an agenda doesn’t mean you must schedule every second of the retreat. Your team will also need some downtime and relaxation, so make sure you leave them a couple of hours of free time every day so that they can organize as they wish.
Attendance should be voluntary
The best-case scenario is that everyone in the company wants and can participate. However, in distributed teams, there might be people who can’t travel for whatever reason: lack of money, disability, etc. Make sure everyone feels free to refuse participation if that’s their choice.
Also, consider possible ways to include those who want to participate but can’t. Having them join brainstorming sessions or organizing a live/virtual happy hour is always an option despite some activities requiring physical presence.
Employees should participate in the planning process
The best company retreat is the one that everyone genuinely enjoys. To achieve that, you should invite all employees to participate in the process from the very beginning.
Before you decide on the retreat location, venue, and activities, run a survey and ask your team to contribute with ideas. Based on their previous corporate retreat experience, your team members can come up with spectacular ideas and help take the company offsite to a whole new level.
Build a healthy remote team with Roots
A great company culture starts with baby steps. For example, a 15-minute chat with your co-worker you don’t get to collaborate with daily. Or, a new watercooler topic in a Slack channel where you discover a colleague from another team with the same favorite book and hobbies.
Think these activities take a lot of time to set up? Think again. With Roots, you don’t even need to leave Slack to schedule virtual coffee chats, talk about your interests, or add talking points before your 1-on-1 meetings with your team members.
Join forward-thinking companies and see how easy it is to manage, monitor, and engage your distributed workforce with Roots. Sign up for a free trial and learn how the plugin works.