Key parts to a successful annual retreat

31st August 2018

By Ben George

Being a remote company means staff are located all throughout the country. For this reason, we believe it’s vital to get together in both small groups but also as an entire group. 

As a distributed team, it’s important to gather once in a while to keep up morale, get to know your colleagues, and learn to better work together. In this article I’ll go over everything that made our company retreat a success.

Social activities

Be sure to line up some social activities that get your team to work together in creative ways. During our retreat last year, we did a group Thai cooking class at Spirit House, and came away with new skills and experiences. This type of activity is great for team building, because it encourages everyone to learn together and cooperate.

Finding shared interests

We discovered the The Code Company team shares a love for good food (and wine). Since we had that in common, we enjoyed eating at some really nice restaurants and cafes together. We also all shared a love for the ocean, so we spent time at the beach everyday and explored the headlands.

Before you plan your retreat activities, try to get a feel for shared interests across the group to ensure everyone enjoys the events you have planned.

Talk strategy

During every company retreat, at least some time should be devoted to discussing strategy and goals for the business.

The retreat gave us an opportunity to workshop some ideas to improve our workflow and define everyone’s role in the business. Before the retreat, many of us worked on multiple (almost all) client projects, and it created issues. After the retreat, we were able to form teams to improve the consistency of our work and client relationships.

Don’t neglect work

A company retreat is fun and relaxing, but you shouldn’t forget your clients. Have at least a skeleton team working while you’re traveling. Although our trip was focused on building relationships and improving the business, we still did some light work (with a beautiful view).

Overall, a distributed business company retreat gave us the opportunity to get to know each other, and was a nice change from Slack or email. It was great sharing experiences and learning new things, which led to some hilarious banter. The team emerged stronger, more cohesive, and more organised thanks to it.