What happens when the campfire goes out? Once we are all back to the [home] office? How can you make sure the benefits of being together in nature remain?
Tell the story
Post-team retreats, the feeling of relief and accomplishment sometimes takes over.
But it is not the time to rest on our laurels. It is the time to turn our hard work into beautiful content and share that story.
What transpired during those few days should not be forgotten. It should be celebrated. Articles, interviews, reels, and social media posts, have your pick. Don't waste an opportunity to show the world (potential new talents?), and your team what you can accomplish, and how much fun it is to do it together!
Make it "tangible"
Why do we bring souvenirs from holidays? Because they are physical artifacts triggering good memories. Sure they can be seen as useless trinkets but they can also be a tangible reminder of what you shared and used as a cohesive tool, a way to "summon" that feeling again. If you have a physical office, make sure to hang that team picture, if you are all online, use your background, and refer to a memory at check-ins.
Gather everyone's picture and turn them into a physical gift for the team: a calendar for the new year maybe. If you cooked together during the retreat, create a retreat cookbook to be shared with everyone's recipes.
If you co-created a painting, cut it out and give everyone a piece to take home.
You get the idea, small gestures can go a long way.
What is tricky with team retreats is that there are always a few people who cannot make it. It is easy for them to feel excluded once everyone comes back with "you had to be there" stories and private jokes.
Make sure to fill in those who could not join this time around. Have a "show and tell" for the whole company sharing the learnings and takeaways as well as some of the fun.
Identify actionable ideas
During the retreat, for sure new ideas germinated, new friendships and collaboration were born and suggestions were brought up.
Do not let that go to waste! Identify what could be taken further through one-on-ones and surveys.
Harvest those new connections that could be the start of brilliant innovation!
Plan the next one
Before the excitement deflates swallowed up by the return of the routine, get people excited and involved in planning the next one. It is never too early.
It could be an idea to involve team members more, have them drive some area such are agreeing on dates, finding locations, coming up with topics...