We have all participated in our fair share of mediocre company retreats.
Before you say, "That's not for me," consider that there is a better way to connect that is...
...fun, impactful and human!
At Rebel + Connect we encourage remote leaders to create cultures of meaning using custom retreats.
Whether you have just begun to consider the use of retreats or are a long time retreat user, we want to help you take it to the next level!
The most impactful retreats include these five key elements:
#1 Training - Use Your Retreat to Deliver Training
Trainings are best when they integrate cutting edge science on health and wellness, team building, and/or leadership.
When designing or selecting trainings for your remote team you’ll want to consider:
hard skills and soft skills
individual team members strengths and weaknesses
collective strengths and weaknesses
You’ll want to find the right balance of personal and professional development to ensure the trainings have a positive impact on people and profits.
Finding the right balance of hard and soft skills will ensure you are addressing the holistic nature of people development.
Looking at individual team members weaknesses will help you choose training topics that make team members feel supported
Considering team member strengths could save you money, because you can enlist team members to actually lead trainings that highlight their unique gifts.
Keeping the collective strengths and weaknesses in mind will help you develop targeted team building exercises.
Finally, looking at company culture and company goals will help ensure that all trainings “make sense” in relationship to the bigger picture of the company.
Join our free Facebook community Remote Leadership Think Tank to stay up to date the best remote team training resources.
#2 Company Values - Use Your Retreat to Bring Company Values to Life
Company values will do more harm than good if they are simply listed on your website. Your team members need to see living breathing examples of what these values look like in action.
Retreats are a great way to do just that!
Our company values are:
When we go on retreat we try to incorporate at least one activity that expresses each value.
When we are planning a retreat for a client, one of the first questions we need answered is “What are your company values?”
Each company is different, so it’s hard to say, “do this!” However, give some thought to activities that will evoke your company values.
For example, if you have a company value of work-life balance - consider inviting team members’ families. If that’s not in the budget, at least make sure the retreat isn’t all work (training and no play).
Finding ways to enhance and drive home company values will make people feel more connected to the company vision. This connection is the engagement you need to take your team performance to the next level (and increase profits!).
#3 Community Impact - Use Your Retreat to Give Back to the Local Community
We live in the age of corporate social responsibility. People want to work for and do business with companies that give back.
Sure, you can write a check and call it a day. OR you can use your retreat to take action.
When planning retreats for our team we always incorporate a community service component.
Another great option is to host a lunch and learn or workshop for the local community. For example, if you are a tech company - consider how a workshop like “Intro to Coding” might add value for local youth. Similarly, if you are a law firm you might consider hosting a legal clinic to provide free or affordable legal advice.
On our last internal retreat we joined forces with Arne Giske, Owner of Giske Business Network, Host of the Millennial Entrepreneur Podcast, and creator of the Millennial Entrepreneur Community to host a digital marketing event for Atlanta based entrepreneurs. It was a blast!
Here are some ways that community outreach can benefit your team:
Additionally, as a remote team your online reputation is likely stronger than your community presence. These types of service based activities can help you increase brand exposure and in so doing increase profits.
#4 Nature - Use Your Retreat to Unplug from Technology and Plug into Nature
Remote workers spend an exorbitant amount of time in front of the computer and are more sedentary than their co-located counterparts.
This can take a toll. Vanguard reports that too much screen time can cause:
sleep deprivation resulting in poor memory, brain fog, and poor concentration.
neck and back pain
When planning your retreat look for ways to unplug from technology and plug into nature.
Business Insider contributors Lauren F Friedman and Kevin Loria explain the scientifically back benefits of time spent in nature:
improved short term memory, restored mental energy, and improved concentration
reduced levels of inflammation and body pain
sharper thinking and creativity
Not everyone is “out-doorsie” so do consider the spectrum of intensity for nature excursions.
Our team loves to snowboard, hike, and camp...
... but for some teams yoga in the park or a beachfront residence might be good enough.
This aspect of your retreat is definitely something to get input and feedback on! Come up with some ideas and survey your team.
We do this for every single client with our Discovery Package. We do a series of in-depth interviews with leadership about retreat ideas and goals in order to generate a custom survey to distribute to the team.
If you get this right your team members will reap the benefits of an experience in nature, but if you choose something too extreme it could backfire and actually increase stress.
Assuming you do get it right… you will be left with a healthier, happier, and high performing remote team.
#5 Cultural Immersion - Use Your Retreat to Explore the World
Last but not least, cultural immersion! We encourage all our clients to choose retreat destination that have rich local cultures.
There are lots of reasons to travel, but perhaps the most profound is getting out of your comfort zone, changing your perspective, and expanding your worldview!
Buzzfeed staff writer Annie Daly explains that traveling outside of your comfort zone:
enhances problem solving
promotes healthy risk taking
How might your experience of leading remotely be different if you team members exhibited high levels of creativity, trust, problem-solving skills, humility, open-mindedness, courage, and patience?
I’d dare to say the impact on performance would be positive and when performance improves profits increase.
Conclusion - Retreats are a Powerful Tool for Remote Leaders
In the past, during the age of co-located work, retreats were a perk. Today, in the age of remote work and the fully distributed workforce, retreats are a strategic resource that can not be overlooked.
If you’re ready to take your remote team’s performance to the next level, than investing in regular high quality retreats is unavoidable!
Our team is standing by to help you get started. Schedule your complimentary consultation today!
If you have had success planning a company retreat for your remote team, we encourage you to share your own tips and tricks in the comments section below!
Rebel + Connect creates custom retreats for remote teams. A Colorado based company owned and operated by Charlie Birch, Rachel McGehee, and Summer Weirich, we operate remotely and service clients from all over the globe. Join us as we create cultures of meaning and celebrate human connections in a digital world!
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