What Will Company Retreats Look Like After COVID-19?
5 minute read time
Summer has found us scrambling to put "normal life" back together as we slowly begin re-opening the economy, and it has taken on various adaptations to reflect a need to return to work safely and responsibly.
After assessing local restrictions on gatherings and the concerns of their employees, many companies are reconsidering their summer retreat plans in favor of moderately socially distant events or even entirely virtual meetings. In some places, companies will have the luxury of plunging back into pre-pandemic style company retreats. Regardless of where your company falls on the spectrum, here are five unique ideas to bring your team together, whether in person or online.
Host a Charity Event
There has never been a better time to give back to your community, and charity is the perfect way to lift your team's spirit. After spending time in isolation and coping with stress, having the opportunity to gather with co-workers and raise funds for a cause that is meaningful to them will spark employee enthusiasm.
To achieve the desired effect, it is important to ask your team what causes they would like to support. This way, you will know that they are excited about participating in the event. You can learn about their passions by sending out a survey with Survey Monkey. To stay relevant to what employees have been going through, a good starting point may be donating to a local hospital or a COVID-19 research fund.
Charity is a great event idea for both its potential to boost employee morale and its versatility. For companies located in areas with little to no restrictions, you can book a restaurant or event venue. If you are limited to socially distant gatherings, you can easily rent outdoor space.
Raffles and games provide entertainment and a way to generate funds, but you may want to take the charitable initiative online as well. By using Mightycause and asking your employees to share information about your event on social media, your team will connect with one another and their community. For companies forced to limit their events to online-only, software such as this allows a fundraising event to still be a possibility.
The perfect way to thank your team and your charity event attendees is to gift them with a company logo shirt such as a Bella + Canvas t-shirt.
Book a Guided Hike
For a more adventurous retreat, consider taking your team on a guided wilderness tour. Returning to the "new normal" can be a breath of fresh air for some employees, while for others, it might be introducing stress. Regardless of the type of reactions to the pandemic your team is experiencing, spending time in nature can be healing. It is an opportunity for them to connect with themselves and fellow team members through shared adventures and, if you plan them, outdoor team-building exercises.
This retreat model gives you the ability to adjust the activities for social distancing, if necessary. With nature to spread out in, your team can stay distant and safe when needed.
Wildland Trekking offers guided group hikes; they host tours in many of America's famous, stunning parks. Keep in mind that if you are traveling from outside of one of the states where tours are being offered, you should check local travel restrictions to prevent any conflicts before booking.
Before you go, be sure to grab company logo Patagonia vests for your guided hike.
Hold a Golf Tournament
For more traditional summer fun, host a golf tournament for your company event. This is another way to work within health guidelines, as employees can keep a safe distance in an outdoor setting, as opposed to being cramped indoors. Given the popularity of golf, you can't go wrong with choosing this activity for your team.
Putting together the entire event is a chore, and you might want to contact a golf tournament planner such as Golf Digest Planner. They have several packages available to suit the needs of your company, and they will take some of the burdens of event planning off of your shoulders.
At your golf tournament, surprise the team with athletic wear such as company logo Nike Dri Fit polos.
Create Your Own Drive-in Theatre
If you are looking to bring more creativity into your event venue, or you are facing tighter local restrictions on group gatherings, hosting a drive-in might be a great choice for your company event.
You can organize a movie night in various ways, including setting up chairs, picnic blankets, or having employees pull their cars up. If you are expecting that guidelines will loosen by the time your event rolls around, but you aren't sure if you should plan on the side of caution, this is an option that offers maximum flexibility. You can plan on having employees watch the movie from their own vehicles, and if restrictions are lifted before the event, it will be easy to set up a more social atmosphere. By adding tables and picnic blankets and introducing buffet-style snacking, your team can enjoy the opportunity to socialize.
Funflicks offers local movie screen rentals in a vast number of states. If they aren't local in your state, there is still a chance you can rent a screen from them by requesting a reservation on their website.
Make your company drive-in event special by gifting your employees with company logo Corkcicle canteens.
Try a Team Building Virtual Event
While the above options can work for many companies, some are still facing shelter in place orders. In these situations, there are options for hosting virtual events that will accomplish your company’s goals.
Your team may be comfortable using common technology such as Zoom or Facebook video calls, but consider a unique platform for hosting your virtual event, like Wistia's Couchcon. Whatever you choose, try to make it seem different and more exciting than a standard meeting.
To achieve this, you can set a theme and have employees dress up and even decorate their homes accordingly. Send out a survey to see what kind of themes your team would be interested in to get them involved in the planning.
It's important to focus your virtual event around having fun and connecting. You can facilitate this by getting your employees engaged in team-building activities. While a quick internet search will bring up thousands of games that have been adapted for virtual environments, try to choose activities that develop communication skills.
A great example is a popular adaptation of Pictionary which requires someone to describe an image in great detail, allowing their partner to draw it without being able to look at it or even know the subject matter of the picture. This activity forces team members to be precise in their communication which deepens their ability to understand and connect with each other while having fun.
Boost Your Team's Morale
Some things to keep in mind when planning company events in the near future are listening to the concerns of your employees and focusing on raising their optimism. Even though restrictions may allow for large gatherings in your area, it is possible that a number of your employees won't feel comfortable attending large events. Check in with your team, provide them with options, and ask them what they believe would be a good choice.
Showing your employees that you care is crucial to the long-term success of your company. Employees should feel as though they are valued, heard, and appreciated. Surprising your team with high-quality, company branded gifts is a generous way of demonstrating your commitment to their happiness at your company. Whatever event you choose, a sense of unity is inevitable when the whole team wears your company logo apparel.
Though your original plans for a company retreat may have been interrupted, you can still build your team's morale through creative planning. As we enter the "new world," companies who use retreats as a way to reinforce connections and reignite employee enthusiasm will have a great advantage.