Why having a company off-site is worth the expense.

We recently had a work off-site down in the NSW Southern Highlands.

To sum it up, it was a morning of company insights, a participation workshop and an afternoon of paintball. Add to that, loads of food, drink and seriously bad singing around a fire pit and you’ve got the idea.

So, what makes a good off-site? Yikes, I’m about to open up a can of worms here! I reckon every single person that reads this article would have a different idea on what a good off-site looks like. Well, this is my article, so I’m going to give you my version. You’re welcome to take the bits you like and add your own special sauce.

1. Inspire your people.

Ok, maybe not the eureka insight you were after, but bear with me. The greatest asset of any business is its people. Creative problem solving is the most sought after skill-set today. It’s not good enough to be good. We all need to be great. An off-site gives you the chance to cultivate a ‘great’ mindset. Make your people want to be great at what they do.

2. Don’t show them the way. Plan the way together.

How often do we feel left out of the big picture? We need to feel empowered. And nothing creates empowerment like being listened to. Make sure everyone has a part to play during the off-site. You might uncover a few gems along the way! 

3. Align culture and values to business goals.

You may have recently read about New Zealand's first ‘wellbeing budget’. It’s based on the idea that financial prosperity alone is not a sufficient measure of the quality of life. It’s been seen as a bit of a game-changer around the world. Other countries are taking note. The same principles apply to businesses. An off-site gives you the opportunity to shape your ‘business wellbeing’ as a team.

4. Break the cycle.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. An off-site gets you thinking about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and more importantly, how you should be doing it. We all get stuck in a rut. Bad habits form without us realising it. An off-site gives you the chance to step back, look at the big picture and adjust your approach. 

5. Please, powerpoints to a minimum.

No one remembers two days locked up in a conference room looking at spreadsheets doing their best to nod in feign interest. Let’s get serious here people. Keep your content aligned to your goals. Try staying away from slides if you can. And if you can’t, keep your slides simple. Keep the session short. You’ve got around 20 minutes to keep your audience engaged. After that, you’re dead. Take them outside, sit under a tree, tell them a story – we all love stories. And, tell them something they want to hear.  

6. Seriously. Have some fun.

Ok, so here’s the thing. People like to let-off steam. Think about it. We all spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our own family. Chances are, your office has its fair share of internal politics. People need an outlet, and an off-site is one of them. I’m a big believer in allowing staff to let go. It’s dangerous and full of risks, but it also has a cathartic effect on people. Rather than bottling things up, it’s a chance to get your issues on the table and move on. Be warned, this can go wrong at times. Worth it none-the-less.

So there you have it, my six tips to making sure your next off-site delivers the bounce you want. 

Tanya Ilinkovski
Creative Director of Focus Creative.

Focus Creative