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5 activities that will make your team retreat memorable

Do you expect your team to give their best? The team retreat is your chance to give back.

Show your team you care by putting together an agenda that subtly blends work, pleasure, and connections without resorting to the same old tricks.

Here are five activities that will make our team retreat stand out and create memories that will be discussed for months to come.

Digital Detox

Fifteen years ago, you could go trekking in Nepal for a month without any connection to the outside world. Today, pictures of people proudly reaching the base camp make it to the 'gram faster than it takes them to safely descend.

a couple  trekking in the Himalayas
A picture or it did not happen

Today it is harder and harder to find places the internet does not reach which means that disconnecting needs to be a conscious and intentional choice.

No phone, no computer, hell, no wifi for a whole day. Would you dare and see what happened?

From the top of our heads (and from researchers from across the world), this is probably what would happen:

  • Stress reduction

  • Increased creativity

  • Sharper focus

  • Greater social interactions

  • And a personal favorite, more time!

Obviously, this doesn't all happen in one day, but adding a tech-free day to your retreat can be a great way to explore new ways to connect, address mental health, and simply challenge your team in a fun and unusual way.

a woman using colorful post its on a piece of furniture
The analog Kabban board

Honor the Artist Within

Many people feel like they're not "artistic" or "creative" and always brush (pun intended) the idea of art aside immediately.

The truth is, we all have creativity within us. It's expressed in different ways and through different media. And most importantly, it mostly comes out in a safe and nurturing environment.

For once, remove the focus from the outcome and shift it to the process. The art is not the piece but the beautiful moment that is creating something together.

Collaborative painting is a great way to get people to relax and forget about the goal, focusing on the process.

Dim the lights, put on some nice background music, and let people dive into the canvas and conversations.

Whatever you decide to do with the finished painting, the memories will remain.

a team doing a collaborative painting
The collaboration is the art

Experience Gratitude

Receiving thanks and encouragement is a great feeling. Giving them is great too, but it can sometimes feel a bit forced or embarrassing to host a face-to-face gratitude session.

Remove the awkwardness by making it anonymous, having people do a gratitude chain and write on each other's back, or leaving envelopes for everyone at the end of the retreat.

You can also create "Gratitude checks" with your team's branding and distribute a few of them at the start of the retreat. Employees can then decide whom to gift them to, privately, throughout the event.

Whatever option you go with, make it something people can keep and take with them!

Unconference: Don't hog the mic

Everyone has something worth sharing. What is usually missing is the right forum.

While it makes sense for leaders and management hosting the retreat to hold the mic most of the time, allow for specific moments when team members can share a skill, a challenge, a success, or a story that will inspire and/or make everyone laugh, bringing you all closer together.

a team sharing stories
Once upon a time, there was a team...

The Power of a Campfire

There is something about fire that brings people together like nothing else. It first attracts you with its warmth and turns awkward silences into comfortable, peaceful moments.

Never hesitate to make a bonfire a proper part of your agenda. Use the fire to open and/or close your retreat, encourage people to write down intentions or things they want to let go of, and symbolically throw them into the fire. You can also add a talking stick to pass around and allow anyone to share personal thoughts, hopes, or expectations for the coming days.

A team around a campfire
Around the fire we go


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