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Company Retreats 101: How to Make the Best of Your Together Time

On Breaking a Hammer and Other Team Getaway Stories

Written by Ralitsa Golemanova

It’s official. Company retreats rock.

If you’ve never been to one, here are the basics.

So, it’s not a teambuilding, but it’s not a regular day in the office either. You know what, it’s just awesome.

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For us here at Swipes, our latest company retreat in the mountain resort Borovets in Bulgaria was the coolest one yet. We’ve done a few before, but never with so many people together (all ten of us!) and at such a level of productivity and joy.

We’ve always known that the format of such team getaways really works. It allows you to change the setting, recharge and come closer together as a team. But it also gives you the opportunity to talk about the purpose and grand goals of your work, stuff that you can’t tackle on a Monday morning meeting.

Naturally, with time we learned the tricks to making retreats truly effective and bonding. Our approach to the Borovets trip was simple. Four days, together, Bulgarian mountains. We didn’t overplan, as we decided it two days before going.

But we did make sure we have clear goals that we wanted to achieve. The most important one: focus on the big vision for our startup. This was especially relevant for the work on our newest product, Swipes for Teams.

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We started off with brief catch-up on the latest findings and made sure everybody is on the same page. Then we set to execute our specific aims: get aligned on where we’re going, create a new landing page for our website and enjoy our time together to the fullest. And we sure did achieve it all.

If you’re already persuaded to try out a team getaway, but it’s your first time organizing one, how to nail that company retreat? Here are our 101 tips so that your next team trip rocks.

Make a fun, realistic plan

Remember, it’s not a teambuilding, but it’s not regular work days either. Your first step to success is making a realistic plan of what you can get done.

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Targeting too many goals in a short time will only lead to disappointment. Instead, look for a healthy balance between fun and work. Set a few tangible, clear tasks and make sure to leave enough time for walks in nature and just fooling around together.

Bye, office stiffness

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The coolest thing about a company retreat is that you and your team can relax and get to know each other better. Even in the most upbeat offices, the framework of a workplace gives a sense of stiffness, however subtle it might be.

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That’s why team getaways are such an effective way to come together as a close-knit group. Having long breakfasts and extensive coffee breaks – and great evenings with good wine and music – just make you all let go and see how awesome each of your team members is.

Kids just wanna play: let the creative spark shine on  

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And once you’re all aligned and relaxed, it’s time to get creative. The best part is that it actually comes quite easy to flow with the stream of your ideas then.

With your team’s specific goals in mind, brainstorming in a new setting, especially in nature, can just blow your mind. Get out of any rigid expectations and just go wild.

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And let’s not forget, an exciting night of gaming together might just be the team push you need.

Wrap it up with an overview of success

Here comes the best part: giving each other appreciation for all the work hard, play hard time. It’s a good idea to make an overview of the goals and achievements – and just enjoy how awesome each of you is and all of you together as a team are.

What’s your best tip for company retreats? We’d love to learn a new trick!

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