Taking your company offsite doesn’t require leaving the business environment completely. With the expansion of coworking spaces, there are now more hip and productive event spaces to choose from than ever. Whether facilitating temporary meetings or seeking a longer-term solution, you’ll need to plan it right and find an offsite meeting space that leaves an impact on your team both during and after the event.
Key Event-Planning Considerations
Events are as varied as the companies they host, and not every site is the same. Take a minute with your key employees to draw up your event plan according to the following guidelines. They’ll help you more efficiently run your corporate event for the maximum possible effect.
- Clarify your objectives. From casual celebrations to highly focused corporate retreats, clarification of your objectives is the first priority. The nature of the event will do much of the initial work for you by establishing the scope of your planning – but only if you let it. Are you trying to give your staff a well-earned celebration? Do you need them in a highly cerebral problem-solving mode? Is it skills training you’re focused on? The answers to questions like these are the way to begin.
- Assemble your team. Consider the size and makeup of your group, depending on your objectives. Which key employees are essential to your goals, and which aren’t? Larger groups are often found to be less productive, but smaller groups require extra time after the meeting to fill in those who weren’t there. Social dynamics must be taken into account as well to ensure divisive energies aren’t introduced and that the event goals come first.
- Create a detailed agenda and craft your message. Set the topics of discussion beforehand, as well as the time allotted per subject, ensuring nothing is too watered down nor addressed only superficially. If you’re having trouble here, conduct a SWOT analysis with the key participants beforehand or even at the meeting. Make room here for the event planning procedures as well – it will show your attendees that your meeting has been set with the utmost attentiveness, which will bring out their innermost best.
- Logistics and Materials. The nature of the event and your goals will dictate logistics and planning. More casual events will require you to think of entertainment and possibly catering, while business-focused events may require very different things, such as large projection screens or efficient network tools access. Both will require some foresight about nourishment, transportation, location, and sometimes even overnight amenities.
- Materials. Depending on all the above, you’ll need to consider whether any of the following are necessary: specific AV features, food and drinks, kitchen prep, and unique amenities such as furniture, staging, props or other items that may need to be rented.
These guidelines can double equally well as special considerations to make for accommodating non-local employees. You may need to modify some of the specifics, but follow the boldfaced items with the general needs of your offsite workforce in mind to guide your search for the perfect offsite office environment, as well.
During the Event: Set the Right Pace
A big part of setting the pace in your offsite is crafting the message. For most purposes, concentrate on the larger picture more than day-to-day operations – or, as the Harvard Business Review puts it, “Working on the business,” not “in the business.” In essence, this means staying out of the smaller affairs you normally focus on during the regular work routine. To do so, frame the context of the event. Continually ask, “What big picture problem are we trying to solve?”
Your event is a time for strategic thinking about the most important issues that don’t often get addressed fully enough in your traditional office. That’s especially true for tricky or sensitive topics that often get avoided. The event may be a safer space to bring up such issues due to its more open dynamic.
Such tricky issues may include:
- Phasing out product lines
- Ending projects people are emotionally invested in
- Under-performance issues (framed with tact)
- Improving interdepartmental collaboration
- Big ideas and bold new propositions
- Business expansions or acquisitions
- New locations
Keep distractions low by encouraging your audience to keep their laptops closed and phone use minimal. Set an atmosphere amenable to deep listening, and resist temptations to get pulled back into everyday tasks. To make this easier, record the session, and go through the recordings and notes afterward, not during. Above all, keep your crowd engaged without breaking the flow.
For presentations, use easy visuals to help them digest information, and prepare typed notes and other resources so your staff is only tempted to write marginal notes here and there.
Creating a Governance Plan
Especially towards the end of the event, a governance plan should be established. Base this on your key discussion takeaways, and discuss how the strategies can best be implemented. Clarify each team member’s role as you carefully work through the plan together.
Your plan should account for scheduled progress check-ins, noting the purpose for each. Include who must be present, the frequency, and the amount of time they should take. Consider how you will measure performance and create accountability for each other to best motivate progress. Setting all important dates on the calendar, and considering which meetings will be most efficient when conducted virtually or face to face, along with the most effective work settings for each task.
Arrange for delivery of edited meeting records at the right time to boost memory retention and set your new plan of action in motion, just when your staff is freshly motivated.
Where Should You Host Your Event?
Planning your offsite event and content is incredibly important – but don’t neglect the power of a well-designed and accommodating space to facilitate the most thought-provoking experience. It can be the difference between your staff feeling inspired and invested in your offsite or daydreaming about when it’s over.
Dynamically designed spaces foster greater connection and drive impact. Start planning your event by looking for an inviting and enlivening gathering space built specifically for offsite businesses that inspire creativity and productivity like nothing else. Far more than a large gathering hall, these spaces are often designed with a tasteful, artistic flair and are comfortably furnished to create the perfect backdrop for an event your staff is unlikely to forget.
These spaces are specifically designed with the modern office worker in mind. With the needs of hybrid and offsite workers occupying their entire focus, coworking and event spaces are built to foster equal parts creativity and efficiency. Further, these spaces tend to offer a range of options designed to attract offsite workers and raise their satisfaction because it’s a competitive space.
Many of these locations also have a more modern atmosphere, and their on-site amenities are often ready to go, being built with the needs of daily office workers in mind. Because the business focuses all of its efforts on hosting events, they are equally well-prepared with additional services.
Planning Event Services
The most common services your business event needs can often be best served by in-house amenities, which are streamlined, ready to go, and likely more affordable than renting other third-party services. Even when third-party services are necessary (such as transportation or more specific catering needs), it’s more likely that the event space operators can suggest which local vendors are most effective and easier to work with.
It’s important to consider which specialized services you may also require beyond simply renting the space. Some of the most common amenities to think of when planning your event and scouting locations include:
- AV equipment
- Rentals (e.g., furniture, dishware, linens)
- Beverage & bar service
- Event planning
Even without any extra services, you should expect your event spaces to provide a thoughtfully designed layout with comfortable furnishings, access to a prep kitchen, and beautiful decor. You should also ensure your prospective venue space has an on-site manager who will be responsive to your needs both before and during the event, and you can ask them if they provide turnkey service so you can prep at your own pace.
Finding the Perfect Offsite Event Host
If your business event needs to function like a well-oiled machine, it must be run with as little friction as possible. Even the most stripped-down events need planning to ensure that it remains open, productive, and enjoyable. Either way, your offsite event will only be as successful as the amount of attention put into it. Vuka has been crafting its Austin-area event spaces with attentive care, specifically with the offsite workforce in mind. With over 40 years of combined experience in Texas’ hospitality and business communities, your corporate event will be in the best of hands. Contact us today to start planning your offsite or to find out what else we have to offer.