8 things to consider when planning a company offsite
Have you been tasked with planning a company offsite?
Event managers, office managers, and admins know that planning any type of corporate event can be a significant challenge. And maybe this is the first time your company has decided to organize a team offsite in a while (or ever).
Today, many companies are geographically distributed and remote teams have become increasingly common. For these types of teams, holding the occasional in-person get-together is crucial for building company culture.
Offsites may involve a significant amount of business travel, as attendees come in from different locations. Planning something of this scale can get complicated, fast.
But don’t worry—there are plenty of others in the same boat. Most admins we surveyed for TravelPerk’s team building statistics survey say they plan team get-togethers every month, and 36% were currently planning an offsite.
The planning process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are eight questions to ask yourself to kickstart the brainstorming process, so you can make sure your offsite meeting runs smoothly and is fun and memorable.
1) What is the goal of your company offsite?
The first thing you need to do is to set goals and make sure you understand the big picture of why you’re planning a company offsite in the first place. This is especially important if you’re trying to convince stakeholders to allocate additional budget for your event.
There are plenty of great reasons to plan an offsite or company retreat—from building relationships within your teams and encouraging teamwork, to rewarding great performance and increasing employee engagement and team morale.
Employee engagement can have an incredible effect on overall business success. In fact, according to Gallup, highly-engaged business units enjoy better team performance, including 81% lower absenteeism and 14% higher productivity. Increasing engagement is a great motivation for a company offsite—up to 55% of employee engagement is driven by non-financial recognition, according to McKinsey, and company events can play an important part in your recognition initiatives.
2) Who needs to attend the offsite?
Once you’ve determined what your goals are, ask yourself who needs to be at the event. You may want to invite an entire team, multiple teams, or the whole company, depending on the location of the event and what activities will be done there.
When deciding who to invite, consider if the purpose of the event is to reward specific teams/levels of employees or to complete specific tasks and whether you’ll need to coordinate attendees around a single location.
Be sure to ask for RSVPs well in advance, so you’ll know the number of people attending. This will be important when booking venues, entertainment, and food. Using an all-in-one travel booking and event management platform like TravelPerk Events, you can keep track of RSVPs and “nudge” people if they haven’t responded yet. You can also easily communicate any changes to the event plans.
How to invite people to your company event
Say goodbye to chaotic excel sheets and hundreds of tabs open on your internet browser. With TravelPerk events you can seamlessly organize your next team get together with ease. Our tool allows you to invite participants, organize attendees, communicate plans, as well as book and manage travel all from the same platform.
3) What makes a successful offsite? How can you ensure a successful team event?
Once you decide on your metrics for event success, you’ll be able to measure them during or after the offsite.
For example, if one of your goals is building relationships within your teams, you can send out a follow-up survey after the event, asking team members if the event has helped them meet at least one new person at the company (this is what we do at TravelPerk).
4) What have you learned from previous events, and how can it be applied here?
Every event is a learning experience. If you’ve held company offsites in the past, you’ll want to review your notes from those.
Perhaps you’ll find some mistakes that can be avoided. For example, maybe last time you went over budget due to unexpected circumstances, and you can create a contingency fund for next time. Or maybe there are logistical hassles you can watch out for with some strategic planning and problem-solving. For example, don’t forget to lay out ground rules for the event, and include enough downtime and free time so that no one is stressed out.
On the other hand, you should also learn from your successes. Perhaps you planned your last event around an activity that everyone loved—in that case, why not bring the activity back again this time?
5) What are your “essential” and “nice-to-have” action items?
Hosting a great company offsite costs money, but with a few tweaks, you can still have a great event if you’re limited on budget.
Start by making a list to figure out what your “must-haves” are, and what you can cut. Are you willing to lower your budget in one area so you can add more to another? For example, would you be willing to go for a cheaper venue option so you can hire a well-known entertainer?
When it comes to travel, although there may be ways to cut down on costs, you’ll still want to make sure everyone is comfortable. With a platform like TravelPerk, you can seek out corporate travel discounts, so you can save money while booking quality travel options.
6) What is your budget?
Budgeting is an important part of planning a company offsite. You’ll need to calculate approximately how much you’ll be spending on each part of the event—from travel and accommodation to venue bookings, food and drink, entertainers or facilitators for team building activities, event marketing, and more.
For help crafting your budget, check out our free downloadable event budget template.
7) What is the ideal time of year and location for your offsite?
Think carefully about when to plan your offsite. For one thing, you’ll want to encourage maximum participation and attendance. Avoid busy times for your company and industry (like the end of a quarter, etc.), as well as holidays or other special events.
If you’re planning to hold the event outdoors, you should also consider the weather to avoid disappointment — especially if the offsite location is prone to extreme temperatures.
Try to choose a location that is fun, convenient, and fair to everyone, and is well-suited for the activities you have planned. Check out our lists of recommended offsite locations in Europe and the USA.
8) How can you get team members involved and increase engagement?
Are there any other ways you can motivate people to attend the event?
To make your event compelling, be sure to create an action plan for a fun program of activities, and ensure people will come away with something concrete—whether it’s valuable learning, career advancement, or simply enjoyable memories.
If you aren’t sure what kind of offsite team members would prefer attending, it’s worth sending out a company survey to find out.
Offsite planning can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. If you create an organized process and think through all your options, you can create an event that will meet your company’s goals, while staying within budget.
Now that you’ve laid the groundwork for your next team offsite, you’re ready to take the next steps and begin creating your agenda. To get started, check out our team offsite agenda template
And if you’re looking for an easy-to-use software package to help you book and coordinate travel to your offsite event, be sure to check out TravelPerk Events. Using the platform, you can share important information about the event and get real-time updates on changes. Manage the logistics of your event travel and communication all in one place, with no need to switch between platforms. You can also book transport and accommodation, with access to the world’s largest travel inventory.