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15 Amazing Corporate Retreat Activities to Build Happy and Productive Teams

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By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

Corporate Retreat Activities

Corporate retreat activities are among the best ways to develop constructive teamwork patterns in your business. Not only does the act of having employees socialize together engender closer working relationships, but taking staff out of the work environment also provides an opportunity to build collaboration skills and stimulate creative thinking in a more informal atmosphere.

There are many different activity formats you can utilize for your corporate getaway, from small business retreat ideas like charades to more involved pursuits for larger groups such as scavenger hunts. In this post, we’ve listed some common, easy-to-organize options to get you started.

Looking to provide the best retreat experience to your team? We have compiled a thoughtfully curated list of the best company retreat locationscorporate retreat planners, and best executive retreat ideas that help you curate an unforgettable experience for your team.

Our article on corporate retreat gifts offers ideas on choosing gifts that serve as a token of appreciation. Additionally, explore our virtual retreat ideas, small business retreat ideas, luxury corporate retreats, and executive burnout retreats, uncovering how these retreats can restore your well-being and improve overall productivity.

1. What Is a Company Retreat?

A company retreat is any event where staff are taken out of the office for a day, a weekend or even longer, depending on the budget and the objective. These retreats may focus on building team dynamics, teaching new skills, encouraging relaxation or just rewarding the hard work of your staff. They can be arranged for an entire business or just an individual department or team.

2. Why Do Companies Organize Retreats?

Best Corporate Retreat Activities to Motivate Employees

2.1 Increases Professional Ties

Company retreat activities provide a setting for staff to build closer professional relationships. Good rapport between colleagues can improve effective communication and lead to more open discussions around any issues that arise in the business environment.

2.2. Encourages Creativity

Charades, cooking classes, art classes – all these corporate retreat activities encourage employees to display their creative aptitudes. Bringing out the imaginative side of staff through unique retreat activities will help them to be more innovative and adaptable in the office.

2.3. Enhances Team Collaboration

Team pursuits like scavenger hunts and trivia nights are an excellent way to build collaborative skills in an informal setting. Through activities like these, staff can begin to develop useful working patterns that can then translate into greater productivity in the workplace.

2.4. Boosts Employee Morale

Arranging fun retreat activities for adults, such as karaoke or a nature hike, can be an easy win for businesses looking to boost staff morale and acknowledge hard work. This can be useful in boosting employee sentiment, which has been linked to greater dedication and engagement.

2.5. Communicate Your Plans to the Team Members

Company getaways are a good time to reaffirm corporate objectives and explain to the business as a whole what the future holds. This not only reassures staff that the leadership team has a clear vision, but also creates a sense of unity between departments, as they can better understand what their colleagues are doing.

2.6. Improves Company Culture

Incorporating retreats into your company ethos helps to create a culture of recognition. Particularly in businesses with employees working in different locations, in-person activities bring people together and can lead to better synergy.

3. 15 Best Corporate Retreat Activities to Motivate Employees

3.1. Indoor Activities

3.1.1. Hooray Teams

corporate retreat activities - Hooray Teams

Hooray Teams is a virtual teambuilding platform where you can book fun and engaging virtual events with your hybrid team. So, if you have a distributed team, this is a great option to check out. All you need to do is select the activity of your choice on their platform. Once you do that, they will take care of organizing it, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the activity as well.

3.1.2. Organize Board Games

Corporate retreat activities don’t get much simpler than an afternoon or evening of board games. While the principal goal is fun and socialization, board games can also be used to promote strategic planning and creative thinking. Games like Catan and Ticket to Ride, for instance, rely on resource management and logistical foresight, two key business skills.

Board games are also an enjoyable way to foster teamwork. Codenames, for example, demonstrate the importance of communication, while Cranium relies on acknowledging other people’s strengths and weaknesses.

3.1.3. Arrange Trivia Night

Similar to board games, trivia nights encourage employees to get to know one another in a light-hearted, informal setting. They are incredibly easy to organize: just come up with a list of questions, split your staff into teams, and away you go!

Trivia nights not only enhance team collaboration, communication, and morale, but they also provide insight into character types, from the person who steps up to take on a leadership role to the individual who demonstrates a knack for motivating teammates.

3.1.4. Plan a Karaoke Session

Nothing brings people out of their shells more than a no-holds-barred karaoke session. Literally meaning ‘empty orchestra’ in Japanese, karaoke is self-evidently one of the most fun corporate retreat activities, but it has also been proved to have tangible psychological benefits. 

For example, research has shown that singing together helps bond individuals and create a closer group dynamic. The act of performing in front of other people can also help build self-confidence, as well as relieve stress after a particularly challenging work project.

3.1.5. Schedule an Art Class

Nothing brings people out of their shells more than a no-holds-barred karaoke session. Literally meaning ‘empty orchestra’ in Japanese, karaoke is self-evidently one of the most fun corporate retreat activities, but it has also been proved to have tangible psychological benefits. 

For example, research has shown that singing together helps bond individuals and create a closer group dynamic. The act of performing in front of other people can also help build self-confidence, as well as relieve stress after a particularly challenging work project.

3.1.6. Host Cooking Classes

Develop useful life skills alongside useful professional skills with a hands-on cooking class. There are many cuisines to choose from, but whatever you select, the most important thing is to get people working together on making their recipes.

After the team has finished cooking, they can then sit down and enjoy the culinary creations while getting to know one another better. You might even include some simple icebreaker games that can be played over the meal – just make sure you don’t pick anything likely to ruin digestion!

3.1.7. Play Dumb Charades

Corporate retreat activities like charades are excellent tools for promoting communication and collaboration, increasing confidence, and stimulating creative thinking. Plus, they can be a lot of fun! 

There are whole websites dedicated to providing free suggestions for people who want to organize a game of charades, which makes it an incredibly easy, resource-efficient activity to plan. It’s also very easy to set a business-related theme if you want to give the activity a more direct connection to the workplace.

3.2. Outdoor Activities

3.2.1. Go Hiking

Hiking and other excursions in nature deliver a number of positive benefits. First, they get people out of the office and away from the computer and smartphone screens that dominate so much of our lives. Second, hiking is a good form of exercise, which can improve focus and productivity. Third, staff can get to know one another better during the hike – you could even set some problem-solving challenges for separate groups to ponder over the course of the walk.

Hiking is among the best one-day company retreat ideas, but you can combine it with camping and other nature-based activities, such as tree climbing or kayaking, for a long weekend getaway. The mixture of outdoorsy recreations will help increase professional ties and boost morale.

3.2.2. Explore a New Location

Company retreat locations don’t have to take place in majestic wilderness or luxurious resorts. Just taking staff to a new location can make for an enjoyable weekend away. For instance, are there any nearby big cities, small towns or unique attractions that are within easy transportation distance of your office hub?

In general, having discussions in new locations can generate fresh perspectives on an issue or challenge, leading to more innovative thinking.

3.2.3. Arrange a Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are one of the most referenced corporate retreat activities because they simultaneously address a range of skills, including teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and strategic planning. This all takes place within the context of a fun game that allows staff to socialize and enjoy themselves without the pressure associated with an actual workday challenge.

You can create your own scavenger hunt using a premade online template or hire an external vendor to provide a more professional experience for you. There are loads of companies that specialize in creating scavenger hunts, both those designed for the real world and those designed to work virtually through a computer camera. 

3.2.4. Go Fishing

Admittedly, fishing is a bit of a divisive recreational activity, but it is an example of an outdoorsy pursuit that can simultaneously get your team away from the office and provide plenty of time for contemplation. In between trying to hook a whopper, staff can get to know one another better and discuss ways to tackle any work challenges.

Aside from social engagement, fishing can also improve concentration, reduce stress and benefit overall mental health.

3.2.5. Engage with Team Sports

Engage with Team Sports

Promoting cohesion, leadership skills, as well as overall physical and mental health, sport is one of the best team retreat activities to bond your staff together, with a healthy level of competition thrown in. There are lots of options to consider for your retreat, including ultimate frisbee, baseball, and tug of war.

A lot of team sports can be organized in-house, but you can also hire an external vendor if you want something more unusual, such as space hopper races, obstacle courses, or laser tag.

3.3. Wellness and Fitness Activities

3.3.1. Arrange for Fitness Classes

Organizing fitness classes on retreats is a good way to try and introduce exercise into your corporate culture. You can then continue this ethos when you return to work by arranging for discounts at local gyms, which often offer regular activities like Zumba, indoor cycling, or circuit training.

Staff well-being has been linked to reduced absenteeism and increased employee engagement, so it is beneficial to both the organization and the staff to inculcate exercise as a part of the workday.

3.3.2. Interactive Sessions with a Motivational Speaker

Guest speakers are one of the most popular corporate retreat activities because they provide a direct link between the office environment and the getaway setting. There are many ways to format a guest speaker session, from in-depth presentations to more interactive experiences that involve staff engagement. These sessions can focus on one specific skill set or area of the business, or have a broader goal of pepping up staff through motivational rhetoric.

3.3.3. Conduct Yoga or Pilates Classes

Activities like yoga and Pilates combine the benefits of exercise with the relaxation of a stress-free, slow-paced environment. They are particularly good if you want to get your team mentally (and physically) limber before a brainstorming session on a company retreat.

You can encourage staff to bring the principles of yoga or pilates back to the workplace by organizing ongoing sessions for staff even after the getaway. These can take place in either an office breakout space or virtually through video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams

3.3.4. Run Meditation Workshops

Meditation workshops are obviously a relaxing activity to incorporate into your corporate escape, but they can also have longer-term benefits. The techniques learned through an instructional meditation course can teach staff how to cope with stressful situations and avoid burnout.

Meditation has also been shown to improve attention span and cognition, leading to improvements in problem-solving and decision-making.

4. FAQs

4.1. What do you do at a company retreat?

That depends on which company retreat themes you want to develop. If the goal is to create a sociable atmosphere for team bonding, fun activities like karaoke and charades might be the best option. If the goal is to motivate staff and refocus them on the business goals, inviting a guest to speak is a more appropriate choice.

4.2. What is the aim of a corporate retreat?

Corporate retreats can have several aims, from developing soft skills to creative brainstorming. Leadership retreat activities, for example, might center on emotional intelligence and strategic decision-making. How do you organize a corporate retreat?

It’s possible to organize a corporate retreat internally. However, many companies hire professional planners that specialize in this type of getaway in order to take advantage of external experience while minimizing the burden on internal staff. 

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