Guest Blog from Jeanne Tsan, Director of HR, WeWork Europe and Israel
Away days are often tarnished with a bad name, with many people automatically dreaming up images of team building exercises in a field. Yet the real focus should be creating a sense of community and a space that inspires your team. Whether you are a business of 30 or 3,000 people, a well-thought-out away day or weekend can help breathe new life into your team.
Organising an away day shouldn’t be viewed as a chore and the more you can think outside the box, the better. Our founder wanted to create a community experience away from the office, which led to the WeWork Summer Camp which has just celebrated its 6th year anniversary, becoming an experience that our 120,000 strong members look forward to every year.
When you’re planning an away day, you want to design an experience that people plan around and look forward to every year, so these are our 5 tips to creating a memorable away day:
Be clear on your goals from day one
It’s a big undertaking getting your entire team together, so create an agenda of what you hope to achieve from your away day before jumping the gun and booking venues. Do you want your team to reflect on past projects, or simply relax? Your team might also want to set goals for the day, so make sure to check in with them in the early stages of planning. Once you have these goals settled, the logistics will quickly follow.
Don’t limit yourself to one day
When people think ‘away day’ they fall into the trap of assuming it is limited to one day, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Avoid constraining yourself by what you think an away day should be and create something that is unique to your business. We designed a whole festival experience for our members, as they wanted a chance to connect outside work and live freely for a few days. The main thing is that your team has multiple experiences and interacts with one another.
Think outside of the box
If possible, arrange an event away from the office in a new environment. By picking a location that is away from the usual haunts, you give people a chance to think in a new way and create a strong sense of community which will make the experience more memorable.
Focus on creating shared experiences
Alongside your key objectives for your away day, creating shared experiences should be at the forefront of your mind when you are planning activities. Getting people out of the office and in a new environment is a great opportunity to build a sense of community and connect with the wider team. It could be a traditional networking event, or something as simple as a game of football – regardless of the size or scale of the event, make it meaningful and valuable to all.
Remember to ask for feedback
You’re designing these days for your team, so don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and find out what they loved and what they would change. This can be anonymous or quick questions on the last day of the event. By giving them a chance to offer suggestions, you can shape your event and make it even better the next time around.