Yes, they are all about designing opportunities for the team to form stronger professional and social connections. And yes, the agenda should be filled with spaces primed for learning, development and strategizing for the growth of the organization. However, there is a reason team retreats happen outside of an office environment, and that is to create affirmative experiences with shared adventures in dynamic locations. A team retreat should be a balance of work and play.
Images: Aprio Cloud's Team Retreat 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee. Read case study here.
Eating and dining together is a natural way to foster conversation and storytelling. Food tours come in all shapes, sizes, cuisines, and can often be customized. Street food, Indigenous dishes, wine and cheese, traditional sweets, local farmers markets; there is a food tour out there to suit the style of your team retreat and are a great way to become immersed in the culture of a region, city or country.
An enrich team retreat will anchor itself into the culture, community and history of the place that it is being held. Embed your team retreat further into the community story by integrating a service activity that spotlights the beauty of long traditions or helps infuse new skills to the locals. This could be something cultural such as indigenous basket weaving, or something educational like teaching the elderly how TikTok works. Whatever it is, find an activity that your team will enjoy and that will ultimately benefit the local community as well.
The team will take home with them a bunch of great memories of the retreat… so, why not also give them some amazing pictures as well? Hire a local professional photographer (who will know all the best spots; murals, cafes, public art spaces, natural wonders, ect.) and ensure that each team member gets their own amazing snaps to take home and show off their wonderful retreat experience to their friends and family.
Some healthy competition between teams can be loads of fun. A tournament of table tennis, pickleball, mini golf, lip syncing battles, a talent show - whatever fits your team and the vibe of the retreat. Then hire a local comedian to commentate or emcee the competition for some extra special entertainment.
Whether you are learning some new moves, watching a performance or just taking in the vibes, dancing can provide an entertaining space for everyone. This activity is especially appropriate for places where a particular dance form is connected to the local culture, for example, line dancing in Nashville, hip hop in Atlanta, salsa dancing in Miami.
Image: Texas' Oldest Dance Hall, Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, Texas