Offsite meetings are to work what vacations are to life. They inject fun, novelty, surprise, challenge, and playfulness into our otherwise regular, predictable habits and patterns. They strengthen bonds and connections among those participating in the adventure, and they encourage flexibility and openness to new experiences and ideas. (And, let’s face it, they can be pricey. But they’re almost always worth it.)
Going on vacation doesn’t imply there’s anything wrong with your house. A vacation simply presents opportunities for experiences you can’t have at home—experiences that enable you to return feeling refreshed, renewed, and full of possibility.
Likewise, your office or remote environment may be perfectly suited to your team’s daily needs. But when it’s time for a surge of new energy or a change of perspective, getting outside of the team’s literal physical or remote comfort zone can go a long way toward inspiring audacious thinking, communication, and creativity, which can serve as fuel for months to come.
Here are five ways that bringing your team meeting offsite can yield surprising and powerful benefits.
- Make a holistic investment in your team.
An offsite meeting is an opportunity to invest in the total, holistic wellbeing of your employees. A paycheck and bennies are awesome, no doubt about it. But nothing nurtures the human spirit like the time and space to fully express and stretch themselves creatively, intellectually, and interpersonally. A little food and drink doesn’t hurt either.
How often do your team members scatter like the wind at lunchtime, going their separate ways or, worse, dispatching a joyless, perfunctory calorie bomb alone at their desks? A good offsite meeting builds in time for team-building, shared challenges and accomplishments, and a communal meal or two. Combining challenging teamwork (with specific, ambitious goals) with a chance to relax, mingle, and enjoy the primal human connection that only happens over shared sustenance leaves people feeling profoundly nurtured in mind, body, and spirit.
- Spark creativity.
An offsite meeting is the perfect time to take advantage of technology and resources you may not have available in your regular office, such as whiteboard walls designed for maximum brainstorming and visual mapping efficiency, and flat-panel display monitors perfect for jazzy presentations.
It’s also an ideal time to try out some new meeting tools and techniques that can help take your team’s cohesiveness, collaboration, and creativity to the next level. From codifying your team’s values to frank discussion of the practices, results, and conduct that will help the team to soar, an offsite gives the right amount of specially designed and concentrated time and space to make real headway on building a productive team culture.
If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of hiring a facilitator to maximize a meeting’s potential, an offsite is a great place to give it a try—the right neutral but energizing setting, combined with a skilled facilitator, can unleash wildly productive honesty, cooperation, and openness to new thoughts and ideas.
- Build and strengthen new connections.
We all have our office buddies—the reliable handful of people we can count on to talk with about last night’s episode of Game of Thrones or the latest home team football victory. We might even have one or two folks with whom the relationship goes a little deeper, people we know we can be vulnerable with, who have our backs.
An offsite meeting is a powerful opportunity to reinforce and deepen existing connections among team members, while forging new ones. The right team-building exercises, skillfully deployed, can take team cohesion to another level, and leave everyone who participated feeling seen, heard, and valued for their unique contributions to the team.
- Put on a wider lens.
When you’re sitting in your familiar chair in your familiar meeting room, going over familiar goals and running into familiar obstacles, it’s easy to feel familiarly stuck. It’s also easy to lose sight of the bigger picture—why the organization’s mission and vision matter to the wider world, and where they fit in the grand scheme of things.
An offsite is a chance to step back and put on a wider lens. To look at the company within the context of how it stands to affect its target market, audience, or community, and to think bigger about how the team might need to adjust in order to accomplish its full potential.
- Shake the snow globe.
In Michael Pollan’s recent bestseller How to Change Your Mind, he describes the human mind as functioning along a spectrum from rigidity to entropy (or chaos). Too much of either is no good, but most of us tend to inch closer to rigidity over time. Occasionally introducing entropy in the form of unfamiliarity and unpredictability can help us shake our mental snow globes, allowing new connections to form between parts of the brain that don’t normally communicate, and breaking us out of limiting mental ruts and patterns.
Just as our individual minds tend to get more rigid over time, so do teams and groups. We form assumptions, alliances, and lines of communication that can harden into well-worn ruts. Introducing the entropic element of an offsite meeting can help shake the snow globe of a group’s dynamics and lead to refreshing new ways of thinking and interacting that stand to revolutionize your team’s performance, morale, cohesion, and sense of purpose.
Bring your next offsite meeting to Coco!
At Coco, we love hosting offsite meetings for companies and teams in need of the perfect inspiring, energizing place to explore team-building, strategic planning, brand identity crafting, or any other bold goal. Our meeting spaces are specially designed to ignite creativity and collaboration, and our community managers are passionate about supporting the success of your event, from planning to execution. Get in touch today to learn more about hosting your next offsite at one of our locations.