Company retreats are one of the remaining few corporation institutions that are not being outsourced, down-sized or simply done away with.
The reason for this is simple: with ever more remote workforces, sometimes spanning multiple countries and time zones, often the only time when everyone in the company can meet face-to-face is at a company retreat!
Plan for Success
This makes it more important than ever before to ensure you have thought out every possible need and aid to efficiency and effectiveness in advance of your retreat start date. You don’t want to go to the time and expense of bringing in a far-flung group of key decision-makers, only to discover once they arrive that they don’t have the basics to do business!
Perhaps the most important basic today is internet reliability. While some companies still think of the company retreat as a time for their workers to relax and get away from office stress and time-wasting distractions, the truth is, a retreat is often a time when you will do your strategic planning for the next 12 months.
So yes, you want your employees relaxed and not distracted. But you also want them highly productive, which means staying connected with the world outside your retreat site.
- What happens at the retreat site doesn’t stay at the retreat site.
Unlike a vacation, your corporate retreat will be the time during your operational year when you plan it forward. This could mean the employees attending the retreat may need to reach back out to employees in their various offices for brainstorming, collaboration, idea sharing, instruction, and feedback.
As well, as Forbes points out, employees are much more likely to be in favor of changes brought back from a retreat if they had a chance to weigh-in and share their thoughts, whether or not that is done in person or via the internet.
You may also need to facilitate formal meetings between still-distant work teams to conduct any daily business that cannot wait. This too is best facilitated with uninterrupted internet access. Otherwise, your plan to keep your retreat participants non-stressed and focused may backfire in a way you couldn’t have anticipated, as their workload piles up unaddressed back at home.
- Retreat participants will still want to keep connected with family and friends.
Even if your corporate retreat permits spouses or children to attend, life has never been more complicated or fast-paced than it is today. Not all families will be able to attend with your employees. Pets, elders, and other significant individuals may also be left behind during the retreat time.
The fastest way to diffuse stress at a company retreat is to give your participants the tools they need to stay connected to loved ones back at home. This will give them an outlet away from retreat work activities and another source of relaxation and reassurance while they are away from home.
- Providing internet access can actually help to boost productivity!
When social media first became popular, practically every employer expressed concern about plunging productivity at work. What do you do with an employee who can’t stay off Facebook, for example?
But newer studies are showing that permitting employees to take care of some personal things at work, whether it is to check in on Twitter or send an email to their spouse, can actually help employees stay more focused and productive during work hours!
As Business Insider reports, blocking these tools can harm productivity in a number of ways, including by impeding work-related activities! For instance, your marketing department may have a genuine need to access business tools such as LinkedIn and Instagram during work hours. If they happen to hop over to check their personal accounts while they are at it, so be it.
Companies that block access to social media can frustrate already productive employees who perform well and have their own internally high work ethic. In other words, treat your workers like responsible adults at work and the vast majority are far more likely to act like responsible adults. For those that abuse the privilege, this is likely something that will aggravate productive co-workers far faster than it will pop up on your radar.
- Employees can learn more about the local area at your retreat site.
As the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reports, bleisure (business + leisure) travel is becoming more popular as many workforces go fully remote.
Many employees, particularly millennials who are eager and ambitious but not so flush in the wallet, are gravitating towards more flexible work environments that encourage finding ways to enjoy personal enrichment along with professional growth.
Once your employees arrive at your retreat site, it may be all work-work-work during the day, or even nonstop for the first few days. But after the majority of major tasks have been addressed, attendees attentions may naturally be drawn to learning more about where they are and what there is to do there.
The internet can provide an invaluable resource for locating local attractions, booking tours and day trips (for any family members as well as for themselves), finding out about important safety recommendations and enjoying the retreat as more than just an opportunity to strategically plan for the future!
- All the best presentation planning may go to waste without the ability to stream, upload, download and go interactive.
Finally, have you ever arrived at a meeting where you were scheduled to present, bringing with you a powerpoint presentation full of links and interactive media, only to discover when you set up that there was no internet access?
Retreats are typically big budget, big priority events that companies spend all year planning. Your key presenters may have spent weeks or months creating presentations to generate productive discussion, idea sharing, brainstorming, feedback and strategy towards the future.
In the age of the internet-of-everything, it is much smarter and safer to assume your presenters are making plans for internet-rich presentations and simply make sure they have all of the tools and resources they need to do the work you need them to do.
Retreat Site Internet Access Basics
If you are holding your retreat locally, you may have fewer concerns about internet reliability. But if you are planning to take your corporate retreat out of the country, be ready to do your own research above and beyond any assurances the retreat site itself may offer to you.
You particularly want to pay attention to regional internet outages and their causes (storms, construction, unreliable vendors, slow bandwidth, et al). By researching any reliability issues in advance, you may be able to bring tools with you, such as router signal boosters or WiFi extenders, which can help stabilize your local internet while your company retreat is in progress.
About Big Internet
Big Internet has the technology, tools, and expertise to provide stable, reliable, high-speed internet for any corporate event, retreat, meeting or outing.
To learn more, call Big Internet today at 1-416-450-1515 or contact us here.