Make this year count: Get the whole team together for a spectacular offsite that goes beyond icebreakers and remote work. Use the event to significantly boost team morale, well-being, and creativity.
You’ll be on trend by doing so, as offsites are booming. Team travel bookings increased 73% on Navan between July and August 2022. And while corporations are eager to get team members together in person for face-to-face team-building activities, onboarding boot camps, and real-time brainstorming, organizing company offsites is a nuanced art.
Virtual teams have developed a sense of comradery and banter among coworkers thanks to regular video conferencing and Zoom calls. Therefore, the goal of offsite meetings isn’t necessarily to introduce remote team members but rather to shift their perception of company culture and work. It’s an opportunity to drill down into teamwork that’s not possible with screen shares or Slack and reward employees with more than online games and virtual events.
There are a few factors to optimize for as the facilitator of a remote offsite:
(1) Location. The location will vary depending on whether it is an offsite for a small group of team members or a company-wide event. It’s a good idea to select a location with multiple amenities onsite to cater to diverse employees’ needs—after all, some might like to spend time in nature while others prefer a cozy corner in a well-lit library.
With smart technology like the Navan Team Travel Solution, event organizers can access suggestions on potential destinations that work well for all invited employees. For example, the Navan marketing team has colleagues in California and Berlin, so New York would be a realistic meeting point for the two groups. It’s a good idea to cater to guests’ locations so that everyone travels for a reasonable amount of time.
(2) Logistics. Using a modern, centralized travel management tool will help keep plans and pricing in check. Event organizers can configure events and invite participants directly from the event creation page, notifying and guiding travelers through the entire travel booking process. Travelers know what to book and when, according to their company policy and event preferences. Using machine learning and AI, the Team Travel product estimates event travel costs, giving event organizers and financial teams financial visibility.
(3) Hybrid Flexibility. While pandemic travel restrictions no longer force teams apart, not every colleague can leave their families at home or travel across multiple time zones for an in-person offsite. In this case, video conferences can be a helpful tool to create a hybrid offsite. It’s possible to create a virtual offsite event that’s worth team members’ travel time and gives remote workers a sense of community.
One option is to create moments for breakout rooms, where remote employees can feel like they’re joining the offsite event in a smaller group, which lends itself to easier communication and conversation. Another idea is to integrate games like quizzes, in which remote employees can answer questions before the in-person event and be a part of the activity even if they’re not there in person.
(4) Happiness. Wrap up the offsite with a relaxing or adventurous activity that leaves employees feeling like they improved their wellness due to a work trip. While offsites are a fantastic opportunity to really move the needle on strategic or creative initiatives, there are unquantifiable benefits to leveraging an offsite as an opportunity for employees to rest and recharge in the company of coworkers. If hosting a hybrid offsite, be sure to send something like a spa kit or skincare to remote colleagues to enjoy, albeit alone.
While no single template works for every company or department, event planners will better understand what works well for certain cultures and kinds of teams over time.