So your remote company has been working hard, getting things done – crushing goals. Everyone has been able to spend time connecting through video chats and messaging, and pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. So what’s a good way to keep the momentum going? What’s something else your company can do in order to amp up motivation, creativity, and alignment? There’s nothing like a solid company offsite that brings remote folks together 💃🕺
Setting up a company offsite is a sure way to get your remote coworkers excited. It allows:
- Employees to deepen their relationships with coworkers they have been connecting with, while building new ones with employees they don’t typically talk to.
- Creativity to blossom in a new setting, including cross-departmental ideation.
- A space to summarize past goals, and build new ones.
- Employees to feel more invested in their company and what they are working on.
Here are a couple of tips that will help you plan the awesome company offsite your team deserves.
1. Pick a theme
After you’ve decided what dates work best for everyone in the company, it’s time to give this event some style. Pick a theme that’s going to get people excited, that people can relate with, and that you can possibly continue building off of in the future. For example, at Joy Labs we’ve created an annual offsite called “joyconf”, and this previous year we picked the theme “Paradise”. This location based theme sets the stage for adjusting future offsite names to be based on the location we choose. Also, the word “paradise” can typically be associated with relaxation, and a calming environment.
Once you know the theme of your event, build it out! Have your in-house design team put together a fun graphic that gives the feeling you are trying to portray with your theme. If you don’t want to put the task on your design team, utilize an online service like Fiverr to hire a freelance artist.
Once you get the design finished, create some custom swag. Make some shirts with the design, maybe some mugs, hats, or beach towels. There’s a ton of easy to use websites that can help you get the job done. Two that I love and use often are Printfection and Spreadshirt. Remember, stick with your theme, and pick swag items that compliment the event. Also, don’t waste money shipping the swag items to your team before hand. I recommend having the event themed swag at the event, ready for folks to grab when they walk into the event, or you can pass it out some other time during the offsite.
2. Pick a location
With the theme set, it’s time to pick a location! Since your team is remote, scattered across the country (or even the world 🌏), pick a place that is easy to travel to, and that is (generally) centralized to the majority of the employees. I also recommend trying to pick a place that truly resonates with the theme you chose! This will help people get into the theme, and which will ultimately, make the trip more fun for everyone.
Once you have picked your location, its time to get specific. Look into the actual place that you want to host the event. Here are some notes to think about:
- Do you have a small team? Maybe book a large getaway through VRBO or Airbnb.
- Allows you to “have your own space”, and set up decor easily.
- Few restrictions on timing.
- Fun environment.
- Book sleeping arrangements at a nearby hotel, but use this VRBO or Airbnb as the event hub where all the meetings happen.
- Access to a kitchen.
- Do you have a large team? Maybe book through a local hotel or resort.
- Gives you the ability to easily book the rooms.
- Reserve the hotel/resort conference space, keeping things in a close proximity.
- All day access to hotel/resort food and amenities.
Remember, if you are not HR, do check with your HR department on the proper ways to book sleeping arrangements! The most important things about a company offsite is to ensure everyone is safe and comfortable 😊
3. Set up daily agendas
Creating daily agendas will help for many reasons; it will let your employees know what to expect each day, and if done correctly, it will optimize the offsite for ultimate success.
Prioritize the work. Set aside blocks of time throughout the day for brainstorm sessions, full company alignments, department breakouts, and 1:1’s. Make sure you also include blocked out time for meals and breaks. One thing that worked well at our recent Joy Labs joyconf was instead of blocking out specific time for breaks and meals, we created an environment where people can work, take breaks whenever they want or feel they need to, and the option to have working meals or a break while they eat. This allowed us to have an overall daily agenda with goals, but nothing specific enough to where people felt trapped.
Another crucial part of a company offsite, is to have fun! Schedule time for company activities, games, or going out to lunch/dinners. Here are a couple ideas to get you started:
- Beach Ball Game
- This is a great game as an icebreaker, and a great way to get your event kicked off!
- People Bingo
- A great game to do early in the offsite, breaking up the work day.
- Rent an outdoor inflatable projector & watch a movie
- Get a couple movies, have a vote on what to watch, set up some blankets on the lawn of your Airbnb, and let people relax.
- Set up a teacher to come and give a lesson in something
- Maybe you hire a local artist to come and teach your team how to water color a sunset, or find a local chef to come and teach everyone how to cook a dish.
- Hire a local food truck or ice cream truck to come during the day
- Spice up the work day by making lunch, dessert, or snack time an interactive one!
There a ton of ways to make your company offsite, unique, fun, and unforgettable. Aside from the above tips, below are a couple extra things I wanted to note before signing off:
- Don’t make your company offsite a booze fest. Keep it professional and keep it comfortable and safe for everyone.
- Pass out prizes to the winners of any competitive activities you set up (no need to break the bank 💸just a little something fun people will enjoy).
- Hire a photographer/videographer! Your marketing department will greatly appreciate the content, and employees will love sharing their amazing experience. If you don’t know where to look for a photographer/videographer, check out Task Rabbit.
- Collect feedback from all employees immediately after the offsite. Send out out a quick survey for people to fill out and give info on what they loved, what they didn’t, and any ideas for the next year.
If you would like to become a member of Joy Labs, a fully remote startup, stay up-to-date with job openings through our careers page.
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