Finding time to get the whole team out of the office isn’t easy but the benefits justify the effort:
It provides the leader with an opportunity to say thank you, share the vision and set goals
It enables team members to get to know and understand one another better
It gives a dedicated time to discuss and tackle important issues
It can be a milestone in the team’s journey from forming to performing
All too often these benefits aren’t realised because:
The leader doesn’t own the agenda
The day lacks structure and variety
The location is uninspiring
The ‘fun’ team activity doesn’t relate to business or suit the team
The best team away days follow some of these rules:
When – Set the date in good time, on a date that everyone can attend and that coincides with the wider business calendar, perhaps half way through the financial year or in January following the Christmas break.
Why – As we work more efficiently and rely more on technology over face to face communication, teams can become transactional and detached. Trust diminishes and there’s little or no time to innovate. Teams can only function well when there is a shared sense of purpose and mutual respect, characteristics that are hard to cultivate in a busy office environment.
What – Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that a long team meeting or alternatively a few hours in the pub will bond the team. Teams, like people, mature at different rates so sometimes the emphasis should be celebration whereas at other times a more developmental approach is required. Seek advice to determine the right approach.
Who – Allowing people to opt out suggests weak leadership and can lead to conflict in the future. Treat this time as important work, funded by the employer to improve engagement and productivity. To ensure equal contribution and to allow the leader to take part and observe it’s well worth hiring a specialist facilitator to help structure the day, position messages, lead team exercises and manage discussions.
Where – Choose an inspiring and memorable location, somewhere different to previous or regular meetings. People connect places with memories and feelings. In the months following your away day you’ll simply need to mention the place recapture the mindset created during your time away.
How – Start by finding a date that everyone can make, decide how long you want to be away and contact suppliers. At Fresh Tracks we can work with you to source a venue, shortlist some activities and set the agenda.
So, start by talking to one of our facilitators- there’s no charge for advice and we can quickly help you to make a plan that will work for your team and your budget. Just call us on 0845 287 7363 or contact us via email to find out more.
“People had doubts as to the merits of an event like this, but everyone I’ve spoken to was impressed and found it valuable and insightful.
It has changed behaviours for the better and boosted morale.”
John O’Hara, CEO Tasksize, June ‘17 – Team Development Day