An In-Depth Evaluation of Off-Site Trends, Benefits, and Issues
With remote teams making up an increasingly large proportion of the work environment, the once commonplace task of getting people together face-to-face has never been harder to organize, nor more important.
The importance of face-to-face contact can’t be underestimated, with off-site retreats playing a crucial part in the development of healthy, productive, not to mention profitable work relationships. Plus, they’re a lot of fun — let’s not forget that either.
With planretreat.com being a leading organizer of off-site company events, we conducted an extensive survey of over 80 companies to discover what style of retreats were most favored, how long their retreats lasted, what kinds of activities were planned, and a host of other relevant details.
In this report we’ll analyze our findings in-depth — however, let’s kick off with a summary of some of the key points that emerged from our survey.
What’s clear from these figures — and the significant amounts that companies are willing to spend — is quite how important retreats are considered to the healthy functioning of a company.
Admittedly, many of these companies operate remotely, don’t have the expense of large-scale office space, and have the budgets available as a result. That said, having money is one thing, deciding what to spend it on is something else entirely — and retreats are evidently deemed a wise investment.
Surveying a wide range of company sizes — from firms with only a handful of staff to businesses employing over 10,000 people — we asked them a varied range of questions about company retreats and their perceived success.
While retreats were universally considered a positive company and social event, let’s begin by looking at some of the issues surrounding them, kicking off with…
Among the most common difficulties encountered when arranging a retreat were problems associated with deciding on a location, having to work around people’s numerous schedules, and perhaps most commonly, the stress of having to arrange hotels, flights, and activities along with the negotiation of these prices.
It should be noted here that teams on retreat generally found the experience to be far more rewarding when they were all staying at the same hotel — or even better, when the team had the entire venue to themselves.
Now, while having your team stay at the same hotel may sound like a given, depending on the time of year and the size of your team, this may not be as easy to arrange as you might think. Certainly, if you’re going to take over an entire venue for any number of days, a lot of foresight and planning are required.
It’s here, of course, where retreat companies like planretreat.com make a real difference. Removing the stress of the entire organizational process from a company’s shoulders, we leverage our experience and insight — not to mention, our industry connections — to deliver the required venue at the required price.
With a little over 60% of the companies we surveyed having organized their off-site without the help of a retreat planner, it’s perhaps unsurprising to find these issues at the top of the list. Certainly, the 40% that used a planner found the only real difficulty to be deciding on an initial location.
Leading on from this was…
Our survey involved over 80 American companies with 56% of them organizing their retreat within the mainland US. The locations favored by companies that ventured further afield varied from Thailand and Sardinia to Portugal and Morocco.
Of the hotels that were used, the Marriot chain was the single most common choice with nearly 20% of our respondents selecting this option. That said, accommodation types varied greatly across our survey, from AirBNBs to castles (yes, you read that right — one of our respondents took their team to a castle in Europe).
Now, castles may be easier to book, however, accommodating all your team under the same roof remains an ongoing issue even if your roof is a medieval battlement.
As mentioned before, team-building was the main goal of every company we spoke to. While company retreats often involve conferences and brainstorming sessions, it’s the extracurricular activities that seemed to leave a mark on our respondents.
With food and wine tours being particularly popular activities, along with outdoor sports, karaoke, and even axe throwing (which wasn’t at the castle, curiously enough), it seems that the most effective way to build teams within a company is to build friendships outside of it.
This was certainly the overriding reaction from our respondents. When it came to expressing how their retreat helped, a vast proportion of the companies we spoke to viewed their retreats as valuable a chance to reconnect after covid, to meet new team members, and for people to ‘just spend time together’.
So, if you’re planning a company retreat, while the company side shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s crucial that your team spend time together as friends, enjoy a wide range of leisure activities, and throw as many axes as they like.
With 43% of companies organizing 2 or more retreats in 2022, 56% of them also organized mini-retreats. As the name suggests, mini-retreats are events that are perhaps more local and last a shorter length of time.
What’s important here though is that even companies that arranged a high number of full-blown retreats (4 or 5 a year, in some cases) also organized a range of mini-retreats. It’s as if companies can’t get enough of them — and perhaps that’s only to be expected. With the increasingly remote nature of modern workforces, the need for team members to share experiences with each other face-to-face is an increasingly significant factor behind the health and success of any company.
As valuable as retreats are to companies, they’re also remarkable time-consuming events to organize. At Retreat.com, we offer a comprehensive solution that delivers the very best that retreats have to offer with the minimum of stress.
If you’re unsure where to go for your retreat — and almost all of our respondents were — we offer an anonymous survey facility that allows you to get an accurate picture of the kind of event that your team members would like to experience.
With the location decided, we then work with you to create an engaging tailor-made trip that suits all your specific needs. With planretreat.com helping to arrange all flights, hotels and activities, we create the entire end-to-end experience, ensuring that your team is secure and comfortable on-site with constant concierge service.
In short, all you need to do is turn up.
To find out more about planretreat.com and how we can help arrange retreats that will improve the health and productivity of your company, please don’t hesitate to contact us.