Useful tips for organizing a great retreat.
Have you ever experienced troubles during organizing a company retreat? I must say that every trip may become challenging and there are definitely a few things that may help you to do it well and avoid stress beforehand 🙂
At Tooploox we crafted a superstar team but we know that downtime and taking a break from work is essential for team building. That is why every year at Tooploox we organize a huge weekend trip to mingle, have fun and get to know each other. Creating a positive atmosphere and bond is crucial to make our coworkers happy and effective especially since many of them work remotely from various parts of Poland and the world.
This year, we had the biggest trip of all, 90 Plooxies, which was quite a challenge. You can imagine the logistics and organizational hurdles, but it was a blast!
🙂 Finding a perfect date and the venue
The first difficulty you will encounter is the date and place. Because we love spending time outdoors, we consider warm months like May, June or September. You need to keep in mind that if you expect a lot of participants, you need to plan the trip before or right after the high holiday season. Once you’ve found the right date, add it to the calendar. Now it’s official and it’s happening. Just go for it!
We currently have three offices- Wrocław, Warsaw and Gdańsk and a lot of remote workers in various parts of Poland and in other countries. Finding a perfect place is one of the initial challenges. We decided to start every trip in Wrocław (because the majority of our team works here) so we look for places nearby, max 200 km away. We don’t want to start a perfect weekend with an exhausting trip on a crowded bus (even though the party starts there). As for the hotel, I recommend that you choose a venue that combines great accommodation, delicious meals and a perfect view, e.g. a lakeside hotel like we had this year <3 If it offers sauna, swimming pool and pool table – that’s perfect!
🙂 Making preparations and a reserve list
At Tooploox we organize 3-day trips and make sure the activities are attractive and engaging. That’s why I start brainstorming and organizing as fast as possible, at least 9 months in advance! Sounds crazy but trust me, it pays off! When the ideal date is chosen, we meet and brainstorm ideas in a bigger group. In the next step, we prepare a list of attendants to book the means of transport and accommodation. If you decide to plan a trip months earlier like us, you must remember the final list may and probably will change. Some people may resign, some new team members may join the trip at the very last moment.Thanks to reserve list you may avoid additional costs covering cancellations and you’ll always have a place for newcomers or team members who can join the trip just before the deadline.
When planning activities for your retreat, try to avoid traditional icebreakers and team-building activities, which don’t always work and may seem forced. They can do more harm than good.
🙂 Choosing the right event company
If you’re an organizer, make sure everybody knows you’re a participant too and have the same fun as the rest of your team. It is hardly possible to organize and plan activities and enjoy them at the same time. That’s why this year, just like the previous one, we decided to cooperate with FX EVENTS from Poznań, which we highly recommend.
We also invited our fellow photographer, who we cooperate with very often. He joined us during the trip, shared some moments and took almost 1000 photos! We love them! 🙂
🙂 Creating a checklist before the start
At the start, you’re always in a rush and have to remember about million things at the same time. Creating a checklist puts you at ease and this way you won’t forget about anything. You can use a mobile app, paper and pencil, it’s up to you. Whatever you use, you won’t regret it.
🙂 Bad weather? How about a backup plan?
We are always so lucky when it comes to weather, we cannot complain! Still …
You can plan everything but weather may play tricks on you, so be prepared. I always think “ Ok, I’ve got everything but what is the Plan B in case of rain or cold?”. Good event company always thinks the same way and can fight the weather and organize fun activities no matter the circumstances. Big tents, indoor alternatives, etc. Imagination is the limit 🙂
🙂 Feedback after the event and avoiding mistakes next year
I love feedback after events, both positive and negative. There’s always room for improvement next time and you can easily avoid the same mistakes in the future. Still, I’m happy to say that most feedback we receive is only about limited menu, too short trip and the like. This year we’ve been also told the teammates appreciated the abundance of activities without being forced to participate in any of them at the same time. Freedom and fun, that’s what we value. It’s always worth giving your teammates the opportunity to express their feelings and opinions. For us, Google form or individual discussion is just enough.
And remember, sometimes things don’t go according to the plan. In fact, that’s guaranteed. There is always something to surprise you. What do we do? We take it easy. With such amazing, creative and well-knit team, nothing can ruin this weekend, can it?
🙂🙂Thank you my Dream Team 🙂🙂