If hearing the phrase “corporate offsite event” makes you groan and roll your eyes, you’re either not doing it right, or you’re not doing it in the right place. Whether your goal is team building, networking, training, a team reward, a charity event, a holiday party, or some other occasion, good planning and the right venue can make all the difference. Productive offsite events can spark creativity and improve morale for a better, happier, more dynamic workplace. It all starts with intentional, guest-focused planning.
Intentionally Planning Your Corporate Offsite Event
It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s managed people, that the most productive teams communicate effectively, run efficient, well-planned meetings, and perhaps most importantly, foster camaraderie and teamwork by connecting over both work and non-work-related interests.
Intentional, well-planned offsite events are an ideal way to create an environment where meaningful connections can be created, promoting the type of teamwork and synergy that is vital to a productive, energized team. Goals for a corporate offsite event can include strengthening your team, building your brand, and attracting new talent. Determining these goals can help shape the planning process.
Activities at the event can be as diverse as group karaoke, a cake decorating contest, a focus group for an upcoming product, or a celebration in recognition of work anniversaries and accomplishments. Here are some popular types of corporate offsites you might want to host.
Developing your offsite corporate event starts with an inspiring space that allows you to customize and get creative with the ideas you choose. The specific details of your event may depend on your vision for what your guests will get out of the event, as well as what the event venue offers. Asking these questions can help you narrow down your needs and the venue that will fit your offsite event:
- Is there ample indoor space?
- Is there an optional outdoor space?
- Is the venue furnished in a pleasing manner?
- Are there kitchen facilities?
- Is audio/visual equipment available?
Determine what you need to make your offsite plans come to life, and then choose a venue that can make it happen.
Benefits of Hosting Offsite Events
Offsites generally require more planning and resources than holding a similar event at your own facility, but effective events are worth the trouble. By choosing a location away from work, you can:
- Encourage more casual, genuine interactions
- Avoid common workplace distractions
- Help develop your corporate culture
- Do something creative and memorable that motivates morale and shared goals
- Strengthen communication within and between teams
- Build trust between employees and management
- Reinvigorate commitment and engagement with a break in routine
Find Ways to Include Everyone
Every workplace is composed of a mixture of personalities with varying work and communication styles which shape team dynamics. Choosing activities or including options that help make the majority of attendees feel comfortable is one of the best ways to design an event that truly encourages connections and makes all employees and guests feel welcome and valued.
Remote and Hybrid Workers
Employees who are rarely or never on site can have a harder time feeling like part of the team, especially when group events are held. When possible, plan segments into your offsite event to include employees who are attending virtually.
- Virtual escape rooms with mixed teams of remote and onsite employees
- Breakout virtual get-togethers with other games such as trivia, charades, or what-am-I
- If feasible, hold parallel offsite events for satellite locations
With these guidelines and your creative ideas ready to go, here are some great offsite hosting ideas that will engage your team and keep them talking after it ends.
Team Building Events
Team building events are designed to bring your employees closer together, and the most successful events combine work-related sessions with social activities. Team building happens when activities incorporate a variety of interests so each member feels included and finds a place to shine.
Traditional icebreaker games are still popular and effective, but exploring other ways to grow connections can help to ensure your event is successful and enjoyable. Branch out and try something a little out of the box, such as:
- A company field day event with tug-of-war, egg-and-spoon races, dress-up races, and similar games
- An evening for getting to know the C-suite, with opportunities for everyone to have a little face-time with company officers
- An interactive murder mystery event
- Team building bingo where the bingo squares are a variety of skills, experiences, and other characteristics. Players fill in squares by asking and finding others who fulfill a square (examples of some squares might be having gone skydiving, having a pet rabbit, or having been to culinary school)
- Speed networking—like speed dating but making connections with colleagues instead
Be sure to choose events that are fun and will kick off the momentum of your event, while not singling out individuals who may be less prepared for extroverted activities.
Company holiday parties are tried and true events, but with detailed planning, you can keep it from being tired and dull. In addition to the usual spread of tasty food, cheerful holiday music, a review of the year’s successes, and maybe a photo booth, consider including:
- Special employee appreciation presentations
- Secret Santa or white elephant exchanges
- Popular food trucks for dinner
- Raffles that go on throughout the party
- Event celebrations of holidays other than Christmas, such as the Fourth of July or Labor Day. Or, if another holiday observance is relevant to your organization, a celebration built around that date instead.
Surprising your guests with something unexpected will make the event more memorable and add some excitement to the mix, boosting the novelty of the entire event and making attendees glad they didn’t miss out on the experience.
Formal and Informal Training
Training sessions in the company conference room or other facilities that your employees are used to seeing day in and day out can be mundane and leave your attendees distracted and disinterested. Instead, schedule a weekend retreat or an evening offsite for your training event, in a space that is inspiring, modern, and comfortably furnished. Consider incorporating an instructional cooking class, comedy improv, or a board and brush class to liven up the event.
Rewards and Recognition Events
Employees want to feel seen, recognized and valued. Offsite events are a great way to assure your team that they are an integral part of the company. Formal dinners and award events are fantastic ways to show your appreciation for high performers, loyal customers, and other standouts.
Fundraisers and Charity Events
Sharing your corporate success and finding ways to give back to your community is a worthy and inspiring goal for an offsite event. Hosting a fundraiser is one way to accomplish that. You might include:
- Live or silent auctions
- Formal dinner or hors d’oeuvres stations
- Pay-to-play events such as a golf outing, special photo ops, or trivia challenges where contributions are donated to a charity selected by the team
You may find that your team and other participants are willing to cheerfully contribute when it’s for a good cause, and this shared effort will build community all on its own.
Product Launches and Focus Groups
Stretching an offsite corporate event to include a broader group can be realized with product launches or focus groups. These events offer an opportunity to gather employees, media, investors, and even the public to showcase a fresh product or to engage focus groups as part of your product development cycle. Such events are a great way to incorporate and communicate your brand values.
Whether your board of directors live locally or are scattered far and wide, formal meeting times are likely reserved only for business purposes. Arrange a time when board members can meet to have dinner and socialize the evening before or after a board meeting. This can be a refreshing and helpful way for directors and other stakeholders to catch up and build relationships outside of business discussions.
Events and Activities Outside the Box
While these event ideas represent some of the most common reasons you might want to host an offsite, your events don’t need to be pigeonholed into one of these categories. With the right location or ideas, your options for inspiring community-building events are limitless. Explore offsite event options for indoor and outdoor evenings or hybrid events that take advantage of a welcoming venue combined with an exciting activity such as:
- Hosting a game night, complete with snacks and prizes
- Holding a tasting party with wine, cheese, or other foods.
- Organizing a scavenger hunt, either at the venue or using the venue as a “home base”
- Emceeing a company talent show, with judges and prizes
Whatever event you plan, keep your goals in mind and design activities that achieve those goals. Intentionally planning a fun, creative, and inspiring offsite will help you achieve your objectives, whether they involve celebration, community building, training, or something else.
Host a Corporate Offsite that Exceeds Expectations
An offsite event that builds and sustains team connections and communication while meeting event goals will cultivate the sense of community and joint ownership that builds success. If Austin is on your list of event locations, look no further than the versatile, welcoming, and inspiring venues at Vuka, with two adaptive spaces in different parts of town.
Vuka creates a vibrant space where people can be inspired, connected, and empowered. Bring your event goals and ideas to our on-site managers and take advantage of our custom solutions, from turnkey setups to a wide range of equipment, dining, and other event services. With dynamic indoor and outdoor spaces, our Austin venues are ready to help you engage your team. Contact us today to see how we can make your next offsite productive, memorable, and inspiring.