Business retreats serve more than a single purpose. They can be used to generate more cohesion between employees, serve as a getaway that demonstrates how much the boss appreciates the participants, and discover untapped talents among the employee base. The key to a successful retreat is proper planning. Use these five tips, among other strategies, and achieving the goals you set out for the event will be a lot simpler.

Start the Planning Months in Advance

As Forbes points out, a business retreat is not something to put together at the last minute. It takes careful planning to ensure the event is relatively free of complications. A good rule of thumb is to begin the preparation at least six months in advance. You also want to establish a team to manage the planning. While you may chair the team, remember to delegate responsibilities to each member. You’ll be surprised at how quickly things begin to take shape if you don’t try to do it all yourself.


Location Matters

The last thing you want to do is hold a retreat at the office. Part of the idea of running the event is to allow employees the chance to learn, contribute, and interact in a neutral setting. Look into options like campgrounds, beach resorts, mountain lodges, and other spaces large enough for the group. Remember to keep the time of year in mind, since no one wants to go to the beach when it’s not warm enough to hit the sand during recreation times.


Food and Drink Should Be Catered

As American Express points out, providing food and drink is also a major item on the agenda. Some would say that apart from the retreat workshops and materials, making sure everyone has something to eat for a quick breakfast, break times, and lunch is a must. If possible, have a buffet set up near the space where you will hold group meetings and breakout sessions. That allows employees to quickly grab something when they’re hungry and leave more time to socialize in between sessions.


Book the Right Travel Arrangements

While your employees can find their way to the airport, they should not have to do any planning for the rest of the transportation. You want to arrange this component in advance too. Finding a way to transport everyone from the airport to the resort or hotel as a group is a great idea. In some instances, it may be safer to transport the team by shuttle or bus. You will also want to arrange shuttles for any group outings during the retreat, like heading out for an evening meal at a local restaurant.


Balance Classes, Workshops, and Free Time

Retreats are about more than motivational workshops and speakers. They are also about spending time together. When setting up the retreat’s agenda, Inc. recommends that you balance out the time so the employees have some classes where they mainly listen, workshops where they are active participants, and free time where they can socialize or get away for a time and digest what they learned earlier in the day. The right balance will pay off in terms of employees who remain positive, want to participate, and also get to enjoy themselves.


Remember that leaving nothing to chance increases the odds of a successful retreat. Plan carefully and remember to mentally walk yourself through every step. This makes it easier to determine if something was overlooked and address that issue before the employees even know that retreat plans have begun. Once thoroughly planned, relax and resolve to make the most of the time together.

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