The huge rise in popularity of remote, hybrid and flexible working means teams within a business are now much less likely to spend five days a week all working in the same place. This means it is more important than ever to come together for away days and engage in team building, discuss ideas, solve problems, and come up with innovations.
Everyone getting out of their normal workplaces and meeting as a team brings many benefits to both employees themselves and the business more generally. This includes:
- Switching off from calls, emails and other day-to-day distractions.
- Getting to know each other’s true selves rather than only as colleagues.
- Treating the team and celebrating their successes can make them feel valued.
- Coming together as a business to get everyone on the same page.
- Helping employees feel comfortable with raising concerns and challenges.
There are many ideas for activities at team away days but key to a successful one is finding an inspiring place to bring everyone in the business together to run through strategy, ideas and innovation.
How to Make a Success of an Away Day
Here are some tips to ensure you maximise the benefits of an away day for your team.
Use the Right Location
Location is very important for away days. It shouldn’t feel like a normal day at work so you need to find a neutral space that’s inspirational, free from distractions, and comes with facilities such as catering and break out rooms.
For the perfect Brighton away day, Plus X Brighton has meeting space that is regularly used by teams and entire businesses for away days. There’s a rooftop terrace for drinks with views of the South Downs, and a café for coffee, breakfast and lunch.
Plus X also features plenty of natural light and plant life which have been shown to help with innovation and creativity.
Consider External Facilitators and Speakers
You may want to consider using an external facilitator to lead the discussion. This can bring several benefits including allowing senior people in the business to fully participate in the discussion and not worry about having to run the meeting.
In addition, a facilitator from outside the business can bring a fresh perspective due to their lack of bias. They can play ‘devil’s advocate’ without being held back by any company politics, and employees may be more willing to open up and give honest feedback with someone from outside the business.
You could also include external speakers. That could be someone such as a successful entrepreneur or sportsperson to motivate your team, or a key customer to provide valuable insights.
An away day should not just be a day long presentation from the senior team. Everyone in the business should be able to share their opinions and ideas.
Some people will be quieter than others and not everyone will necessarily be comfortable speaking in front of the group. To overcome this, you can run activities such as using Post-it Notes, whiteboards, and flipcharts for sharing ideas and feedback so all employees get the chance to have their say.
Break out sessions with the team split into smaller groups is another way to keep the away day interactive and engaging for everyone. Swapping people in the groups throughout the day can help to encourage team building.
While it’s vital to use a team away day to celebrate company and individual successes, you should also use it to discuss failures, problems, and challenges. An informal environment away from day-to-day distractions is a good time to consider why things haven’t gone quite so well and what can be done to fix any issues.
It’s not the place to assign blame though. People should feel comfortable with sharing negative feedback and experiences, followed by a constructive and respectful discussion.
You should avoid having the conversation descending into angry rants though. The person running the meeting should keep the discussion focused and under control with long negative conversations avoided.
Play as Well as Work
Don’t dedicate the entire day to work discussions; add some fun into the mix too. Make time for things such as games and icebreakers, a team lunch or dinner, and post-meeting drinks.
You can also include bigger activities to boost team morale and encourage employees to bond. That could be something like cooking, cocktail, and painting classes, or more strenuous activities such as kayaking, trampolining, and paintballing.
Whatever activity you choose though, it needs to be enjoyable and accessible for everyone. It shouldn’t be too physical or complicated in case some people feel uncomfortable or unable to do it. It’s a good idea to discuss with the whole team what they’d like to do ahead of the away day rather than springing an activity on them as a surprise.
An away day will be a waste of your time if the discussions aren’t recorded. While it’s important to have fun, one or more people should be tasked with note-taking. Actions should then be allocated with a process decided for monitoring progress.
Looking for an inspiring workspace to bring your team together? Book a tour of Plus X innovation hubs in Brighton and West London to see how we can help your business succeed.
Content + Social Media Manager at Plus X Innovation.