Research has shown that 75% of employees feel that collaboration within and across teams is essential for the business’s success. Because of this, holding away days that foster collaboration and strong working relationships is an essential part of many businesses' quarterly strategies. However, many away days lack structure and take place in the same uninspiring meeting room year after year, resulting in employees leaving feeling less motivated than when they arrived.
If you're looking to hold an invigorating away day to energise and motivate your team for the busy year or quarter ahead, look no further. From an inspiring venue to an engaging activity, read on below for our top tips on how to make your team kick-off go off with a bang!
1. Have a clear purpose
Set goals of what you want to achieve during the away day and create a structured agenda. This will avoid an unproductive meeting that doesn't set a clear vision for the year or quarter ahead.
An example of an away day goal could be setting your company objectives for the upcoming quarter, or if you already have those, your goal could be presenting them to the team so everyone knows exactly what to focus on, breaking it down into departmental objectives and targets too.
- Make it fun! Don't bore your employees with a 50-slide Powerpoint presentation; make it interactive, visually appealing, and above all, interesting and useful.
- Consider running small workshop-style sessions which require employees to work together in small groups to break up the day and encourage active participation from everyone rather than passive listening.
- Don't make the content too long or intense, and make sure to schedule in time for regular coffee/toilet breaks as well as a decent lunch break so the team can refuel and catch up on any urgent work.
- Consider hiring an external facilitator to lead team exercises and strategy sessions. This will bring fresh insights and perspectives and encourage your employees to think outside the box too.
- If you've got employees in different countries, rather than running local away days in each location, run one large one and make it hybrid! By allowing international attendees to tune in virtually, you'll create a more streamlined experience which aligns all your departments across all regions you operate in. It will also give employees the opportunity to meet people from other parts of the business that they might not have spoken to before, again fostering a stronger team dynamic and creating a more cohesive team unit. Check out our ultimate guide to hybrid events to learn more.
2. Choose an inspiring venue
The venue you choose can really make or break an away day. No one wants to spend a whole day listening to presentations in an uninspiring, white-walled meeting room. Think outside the box and select an interesting venue that suits your company and will get those creative juices flowing! Think about food too - a venue which serves a heavy, stodgy lunch will enhance afternoon fatigue, whereas a venue which offers brain-fuelling, healthy options, such as Wallacespace, will keep your employees engaged throughout the day.
There's no shortage of inspiring away day venues in London. Whether you like the idea of a historic, charming backdrop like 41 Portland Place or 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, or a fun, unique setting such as Bounce or Clays, head to Hire Space and have a browse of over 6,000 venues to find your perfect pick. You can also check out our round-up of 6 of our current favourite spaces for supercharging teams.
Hire Space Top Tip:
Make sure the venue you choose is hybrid-friendly in case you have employees that are tuning in virtually. Browse our list of our favourite fully-equipped hybrid venues so you can rest assured that all of your employees will have a fantastic experience, no matter where they're watching from.
3. Add in some teambuilding
We know the mere mention of 'teambuilding' is enough to make most people shudder at the idea of forced fun and being put out of their comfort zone. But this doesn't need to be the case! There are plenty of ways to boost team morale and strengthen bonds without making people break out into a cold sweat at the mention of an icebreaker.
Consider bringing in one of our fabulous suppliers to run a mood-boosting, inclusive activity that will bring your team together and let them have some fun. Wildgoose is an example of a fantastic teambuilding provider that offers a wide variety of in-person, hybrid and virtual activities to bring teams together. From challenges like the Ultimate Challenge or Level Up Team Challenge, to scavenger hunts like Urban Explorer and Space Survival, their games are ideal for away days and are sure to give your employees a memorable experience. A Hire Space away day favourite!
As well as traditional team-building, you could also introduce an activity centred around employee wellbeing. In our article on 7 corporate event trends for 2023, we predict that health and wellness will be much more of a priority at events, so where better to start than at your first team get-together of a brand new year! You could try a mindfulness workshop with Lyfe Wellbeing, a reflexology workshop with Nature At Work, or even chair yoga!
If you need a little help with managing the moving parts of your away day, our team is on hand to help you plan and deliver a team away day that will engage and motivate your team for the year ahead. Get in touch to find out more.
Hire Space Top Tip:
Whilst it's great to encourage your team to come together and have fun, it's important to remember that some people may feel uncomfortable doing certain activities and will then be less likely to engage or even attend. Keep your away day inclusive by catering to your most reserved employee, not the most outgoing one!
4. Wrap up the day with some food and drinks
After a full-on day of strategising, goal-setting and team-building, it's a great idea to let everyone relax and chat with some delicious food and drinks. You could either book a restaurant or bar nearby, or to make it really personal to your team, make an evening of it by trying out your venue's food and drink offerings.
Many venues use in-house caterers, but if your venue is dry hire or doesn't offer catering, you could bring in a dedicated supplier to provide your team with delicious canapés, bowl food, or even a full-blown dinner if you wish! We love Easy Gourmet, Moving Venue or Dinner Ladies. Add some drinks (make sure to provide non-alcoholic ones too) and allow your newly-invigorated team to let their hair down and spend some downtime together to foster deeper mutual understanding and a stronger working relationship. If you want to go all-out, why not bring in entertainment such as a DJ or magician!
5. Give attendees the opportunity to give feedback
Make sure to communicate with your team about the next steps following their contributions from the day. Record the away day and share it with the team, as well as inputting any key milestones into agendas for team meetings to keep them front of mind at all times. It's all good and well having a productive away day but if there's no follow-up, this is a huge missed opportunity.
Just as you would for an external event, send a feedback survey around the team after the away day and ask for their thoughts. Ask open-ended questions about how the day was for them, what they'd like done differently next time, what they enjoyed, what they didn't enjoy, whether they liked the structure and format etc. Make sure employees have the option to remain anonymous, as this usually generates the most honest feedback. Check out our guide to collecting feedback on your event for more tips.
Once you've got your responses, make sure to read them thoroughly so you can make improvements and level up your away day for next time. People love to feel heard, especially by senior management in their companies, so make a conscious effort to take their feedback onboard for the next away day and you'll be well on your way to having a happy, collaborative team culture.
Over a third of employees believe that a collaborative culture encourages company loyalty, so it's clear to see that away days bring with them many benefits for both employer and employee. If you're looking for an outstanding venue for your next away day, browse our top away day venues in London or get in touch to start planning below.
Next, read our thoughts around how the cost of living crisis might affect business events, as well as our predictions for corporate events in 2024.
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If you need a hand pulling together your next team away day, get in touch with our experts below and we'll be happy to help!Plan my away day
Izzie brings a deep understanding of the events world to Hire Space, and keeps busy by writing lots of Hire Space and EventLAB content and managing the Hire Space social media presence.