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How To Plan a Company Offsite Your Team Will Love

Feb 7, 2018 7:02:00 AM / by Lynsey Smith

team building.pngAt Kintone, our goal is help companies and teams love their data.  We aim to change the way you work and interact with your data, and ultimately create more opportunities for your team to innovate.

But creating a positive and supportive company culture doesn’t happen overnight. It takes perpetual persistence to build a company where collaboration thrives, good intentions flows and honesty is the norm. Besides just giving off the warm and fuzzy feelings, solid company cultures are the foundation for successful businesses. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Zappos, Southwest Airlines or Netflix -- just a few companies touted for growing supportive cultures without sacrificing bottom lines.

Getting your team on the same page with a company-wide offsite is a great first step to take. Here are some tips and resources we’ve compiled to help send you on your way.

To break down the planning process, we’ve incorporated the Five W’s which you might recall from school. And if you don’t, maybe you should have paid more attention in your English writing classes. (wink wink)

The Five W’s are:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

They are listed in order of importance, beginning with the ‘Why.’

Why

When deciding to coordinate a company offsite it’s important to identify the goal, purpose or theme for the event. The purpose of your offsite can be as practical or as silly as you like. You know what works best for your company as well as the current needs of your team. You might even find that over the course of the year you’ll end up hosting several different offsites with various themes and goals.   

A few possible reasons to host a company or team offsite include:

  • Yearly or quarterly planning
    • Offsite strategy sessions
    • Goal setting
  •  Professional Development
    • A deep dive into specific subject matter
    • Learning new professional skills
  • Team building
    • Team bonding
    • Onboarding new team members
  • Fostering positive company culture
    • Boosting Morale
    • Encouraging community building among teams and employees

Who

Once you’ve figured the purpose of the offsite or why you’re holding the event, decide who will be in attendance. It’s not uncommon to plan more than one offsite in the same month or quarter. At Kintone, we’ve held a sales or marketing team offsite on one day and then an all company version the next day.

What

Now that you’ve identified the purpose of the offsite and who will be attending, start thinking about the format and what kind of activities will be taking place.

For planning or professional development offsite, consider the following tips:

  • Use the change in scenery as a reason to switch things up!  Try implementing visual note taking or creative brainstorming help your team approach problem solving and strategy in new ways.
    • Check out these tips from HubSpot and Inc to get started.
  • Bring in an expert! Whether it’s a corporate trainer or an industry leader, their insight, experience and wisdom could help take your teams skills to the next level.

For offsites focused on team building, keep the following things in mind:

  • You’ll want to include activities that require all members to participate.
    • Don’t fall into the habit of allowing team leads or the natural leaders to take over, encourage all members to take an active role in completing each task.
  • Games and activities that allow each person to contribute or use their individual strengths.
    • Tasks that highlight how each team member’s unique strengths add to the overall successes of the team work great.
  • Focus on tasks that encourage team members to learn more about their teammates. Don’t be afraid to get silly or push people out of their comfort zones.
    • Whenever possible, try to pair people together that might not typically work together.
  •    Facilitate platforms for people to learn new things about their team members.
    • Consider including personality, communication and or working style assessments.

For company culture offsites:

  • Choose activities that will challenge the group but not to the point that it will create hostility or unhealthy competition.
    • For example, a potato sack race over flag football. Dodgeball is probably another team sport you should avoid.
  • Consider a project that gives back by partnering with a local charity on a project they need help with. This could be a one-time occurrence or part of an going company initiative to give back to your community.
  •  Challenge the staff to try something they have never done before, such as sailing or taking a cooking class that features a new cuisine.
    • Companies like TeamBonding can help facilitate activities for you .

Where

Based on your offsite activities and size of group, you’ll have a good idea of what sort of venue your event will require. If you’re working with a vendor who is facilitating part or all of your offsite, they might be able to host your group or provide location suggestions.

When you begin your location search, check out some of  these resources:

  • Depending on the location of your company, you can reach out to the coworking spaces in your area.  Even if you aren’t a member, you can usually pay a fee to have access to their event spaces. A few options include:
  • A standard go to are hotels as they offer a variety of spaces for various size groups.  You can also inquire about being about to use their outdoor spaces for a change of scenery and a more inspiring backdrop.  
  • If it’s just an afternoon or morning event and you’ll be providing at least one meal for your time, ask if a local restaurant can host your team there.  (This would best for smaller teams)
  • Unconventional venues like sport stadiums usually have conference and banquet rooms that accommodate a variety of group sizes. Plus they can be cheaper during the off season
  • Go local!  Ask your local library if they have space to host you. This type of venue would work best for a working offsite.
  • Lastly, there’s an app for that! Check out these apps that allow you to preview and book a variety of spaces:

Pro Tip: When picking your venue, make sure they have the amenities you will need like Wifi, projectors, adequate bathrooms, a kitchen space, etc.  (We’ll cover your event day kit in another post)

And Finally, WHEN

By now, your company offsite is shaping up pretty nicely and all that’s left is to set a date! The date might be dictated by your venue, outside speakers, etc. Beyond those factors, make sure to take into consideration your company’s event calendar, both internal and external. Also beware of federal holidays as well as the season in which your event will take place. No one likes to go sailing in the middle of a storm!  Before finalizing the date, pay a deposit, promote it internally and clear it with the major stakeholders like senior leadership to make sure there aren’t any unknown conflicts.

Now that you’ve got all the tips and tools to plan a great company offsite, it’s time to get to work in creating a positive and memorable team event.

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Topics: Team Leadership

Lynsey Smith

Written by Lynsey Smith

Event Marketing Associate at Kintone

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