While remote teams have tons of benefits, team bonding is not necessarily one of them. As a result, team leaders are prioritizing company offsites, where in-person experiences can foster more organic team building, problem-solving, and strategic planning than possible between screens. It gives employees the opportunity to step outside their typical work environment and gain quality time one-on-one or in small groups with members of their entire team.
So it’s no surprise that offsites are growing in popularity. In fact, team onsites and offsites represent 38% of current business trips, according to Navan data from fall 2022.
“We’re seeing customers place importance on team travel and strengthening culture,” says Nina Herold, EVP and GM of Travel at Navan.
Now, companies are exploring new ways to conduct these types of get-togethers. Industry leader Salesforce, for example, opened its own retreat center, Trailblazer Ranch—a 75-acre retreat nestled in the redwoods of Scotts Valley, California, where employees can participate in nature walks, restorative yoga, and meditation, among other offsite activities, to renew their energy levels.
Here are 3 quick tips to make the most of employees’ time outside the office when organizing an offsite:
1. Create a Schedule
Team offsites should be equal parts brainstorming and team-building. One facilitator, usually the event leader, should be responsible for setting the meeting agenda, encouraging team morale, and choosing planned activities throughout the trip.
2. Prioritize Fun Activities
Offsites are not about brainstorming new action items or planning next year’s budget—enough of that kind of collaboration is already happening over Slack, email, and in meetings. Offsite meetings should prioritize team-building activities and enable people to see colleagues as human beings.
Events should not mandate collaboration–such as trust falls–but should be an organic byproduct of employee engagement in entertaining, enjoyable moments. By getting your team into new environments and shaking up their own expectations, you’ll be surprised how people start to open up—and the last effect on teamwork once everyone goes home.
If you’re going to do it, do it right: Give your team members an experience they’d want to do even if it wasn’t for work, and reap the rewards when everyone returns to their keyboards.
3. Make Management Accessible
In-person offsites make executive teams suddenly both accessible and approachable. A humanized leadership team can increase employee engagement and motivation by making employees feel revitalized, reenergized, and motivated. It’s especially important to engage younger colleagues who might be accustomed to remote company culture and, therefore, less comfortable approaching management in person. Boosting morale through fun activities can positively impact energy levels when team members are back at their screens.
The Most Innovative Tools for Planning a Team Offsite
The Navan Team Travel tool is an innovative solution for facilitators, travel planners, and executive teams to use when organizing a company offsite. It offers customers an intuitive booking platform that takes into account changing pandemic regulations, country restrictions, company policies, offsite location, and environmental impact to help organizers make the best decisions for their whole team’s travel while streamlining the booking process.
“[Previously], I spent 20 hours per week planning the president’s club event. Now that we have Navan, I spent 15 minutes creating a Team Travel event for a recent offsite and 15 minutes looking through reports to ensure the team booked their travel. And that was it," said Shellie Roanhaus, the executive assistant to the CEO at Premier Talent Partners.
Key team travel features include
Navan went even further to bring companies new levels of service and support by introducing the enhanced Meetings and Events Suite that meets the needs of every business, from those organizing small team offsites to complex international group travel.
The new solution pairs Navan's Team Travel product with Reed & Mackay’s award-winning Meetings and Events (M&E) services, including a dedicated event team, dynamic budget management, group travel experts, and 24-hour on-site assistance for proactive, real-time support.
With Navan data showing a nearly6x year-over-year increase in business travel bookings between fall 2022 and fall 2021, it’s clear that companies are ready to get back on the road—and team travel tools can help them do it efficiently and enjoyably. Are you ready to plan your next offsite?