7 Reasons to Plan a Virtual Team Retreat
Remote work allows you to hire top talent across the country or even the globe. If your team is geographically separated, do you need to organize and host an in-person retreat?
While the answer will depend on your team and company culture, the short answer is yes. Remote teams can benefit greatly from a company retreat. And if local public health guidance suggests not gathering together, you can host a virtual retreat to keep everyone healthy. Below are a few ways company retreats can help your team and your company flourish.
1. Help Your Team Bond
When your team works remotely, it can be hard for them to feel connected to a colleague whose picture is a faceless avatar or meme. But retreats remind employees that behind every picture is a real person, and it offers the opportunity to get to know the person behind the photo.
When your team is at a company dinner, working together, or connecting more casually, it allows them to build and strengthen relationships. You’ll reap the benefits of better communication and increased productivity.
2. Improve Communication
Without body language and tone, employees may feel like they’re bothering their teammates when they ping them on Slack. This feeling of annoying or inconveniencing colleagues can create strains on team communications, especially when proper communication and expectations haven’t been shared.
However, spending quality time together allows employees to get to know each other on a more personal level. They also get to make connections and learn their team members’ nonverbal communication signals, which can greatly impact remote communications. This bonding will make them more comfortable reaching out to one another and improve your team’s overall communication.
3. Build Your Company’s Culture
Team retreats are more than trust falls and working all day. They’re also an opportunity to create and strengthen company culture. It’s also a place to gather employee input to expand upon your company’s culture and shared goals.
Tabitha Colie, Director of Operations at Seeq, says its team retreats focus exclusively on instilling company culture among team members. “We are more focused about how we use the time we spend together—it’s now almost exclusively for team and culture-building purposes instead of work time,” explains Colie. “It turns out we work and collaborate very well together already online and don’t need to use our face-to-face time for that.”
From expressing gratitude to employees or organizing a volunteer day, there are tons of ways you can instill your company’s culture during your next retreat.
4. Increase Employee Engagement
When your team gathers together at a retreat, it allows them to build camaraderie and learn how to communicate better with one another. It also allows your team to take a break from the daily grind and have fun at work, which is critical when 48% of Americans are looking for a new job.
All of these things lead to increased engagement and productivity, which is good for your company’s bottom line. Engaged employees are more productive, and employers who prioritize engagement have less employee turnover. Engagement is not only essential to keeping your workers happy, but it’s critical to employee retention.
5. Uncover Your Employees’ Hidden Talents
Since people spend a lot of time together at company retreats, you’re bound to uncover the hidden talents of your employees. Did you know that one member of your development team performs in a jazz band? Or that they also moonlight as a stand-up comedian on the weekends? You’ll discover incredible skills hiding among your team as you get to know them, and you’ll be able to connect with them better.
6. Grow Your Employees’ Skill Sets
Retreats can also provide professional development opportunities to expand your team’s skills. This way, you can train everyone simultaneously without having to worry about scheduling conflicts or time zones. Consider bringing in instructors or consultants to teach new skills, like cross-cultural communication or empathetic leadership.
7. Enhance Team Collaboration
Seeing each other in person allows teams to learn how to collaborate more effectively, which will translate into a more efficient and productive team when it comes time to clock back into work.
However, this doesn’t mean your team has to work in a cubicle all week. Consider team-building exercises, like hackathons, cooking classes (make sure no one has allergies!), or capture the flag.
Help Your Virtual Team Flourish With Retreats
Employee retreats benefit every company but are especially useful for remote teams. Whether in person or virtual, a well-organized retreat will help your employees communicate effectively, increase engagement, expand their skills, and ultimately, help your company to thrive.
To learn how other companies support their remote teams, check out the remote companies that have shared their success with us.
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By Caitlin Lemon | Categories: Build a Remote Team
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