When planning a team retreat we often pick a space because it's practical and/or affordable: we need X amount of chairs, a big screen, impeccable wifi , have easy access and be within the budget. Check ✔.
When we think like this we forget to take one essential thing into account: the venue is a full-fledged facilitator.
Which means that where you decide to host your event will impact the success and outcome of it. So, should you stay or should you go? Should it be an urban or rural retreat?
THE SPACES WE ARE IN NUDGE US
We often forget that we become the product of our environment. The place we are in impacts our mood, our creativity and our willingness to collaborate.
The space we choose for our team retreat serves a purpose. It nudges us in the right direction: be it connections, collaboration, participation...
The decision to take people out of their "natural habitats" and bring them somewhere new is not random, so the choice of that space should not be either.
THE IMPACT OF THE CITY
Many of us love the city. It's lively, it's full of possibilities. It holds a certain magic. There is so much to do and such diversity, we are sure to find something that pleases everyone: musicals, shows, 5 star restaurants and pop up experiences.
It is so easy to get to and from one place to another, it is filled with people, art and culture, and it has perfect wifi connection.
It's easy and "comfortable" because we know what to expect.
That's the thing. Easy is great, comfortable is what we want. But if we aim to make an impact with our retreat, we might want to take our team slightly out of the comfort zone. Otherwise, why not just meet at the office or rent a conference room at a co-working space down the road. Yes, we are biased but hear us out.
THE POWER OF NATURE
Going into nature can seem a bit overwhelming at first.
How will we get there? Will there be wifi? What will we do there?
We have answers to all these questions and more.
We have learnt the power of nature locations:
Less distractions: no bars, restaurants and coffee places for the team to scatter to after a session
Serenity: no buzzing background noise, interruptions and no "breaking out of the bubble" moving from one place to another
Much more space to hang, walk and work from
Deeper focus, less distraction means more space inspiration.
Strengthen community (since you are bond to spend time together)
More creativity (after all, necessity is mother of creativity, and if there is less around you have to be resourceful)
Lower stress level
More appreciation as we find joy in the little thing (observing the light through foliage, appreciating the sound of the birds...)
More outdoor time which is proven to be better for mental health
a wide range of creative activities and team games and less screen time
And overall, a longer lasting impact as it will be an experience like no other.
URBAN OR RURAL RETREAT, ALWAYS THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS
We have made our case, but whether you pick the city or the countryside , make sure to consider:
comfort (good night sleep are a must)
accessibility (no one wants to travel for 16h for a work meeting)
different spaces (cosy corners, large halls, round table for shared conversations...)
food (its quality but also how and where it is served)
outdoor time and access to greens
And never forget to ask yourself: What do we want the team to remember/take away from this retreat?