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12 Creative Small Business Retreat Ideas to Recharge Your Team

May 19, 2023 | By Preethi Jathanna
Small business retreat ideas
Corporate getaways are a way for companies to facilitate a reset, refresh and rethink of business goals. Whether you want to boost productivity or shore up morale, they can contribute to building a more effective working environment. Small business retreat ideas can range from outdoor excursions like scavenger hunts to indoor activities like cookery classes, depending on what best suits your business setup and overarching objectives. In this article, we’ve pulled together a selection of small business retreat ideas to help inspire you and foster a more engaged, dynamic company culture.
  • Looking to provide the best retreat experience to your team? We have compiled a list of the best company retreat locations to make your search easier.
  • Employees of all levels need a break once in a while. Here is a thoughtfully curated list of the best executive retreat ideas to recharge, reconnect, and rejuvenate your team's spirit.
  • Not really sure about how to plan your company retreat? Reach out to these corporate retreat planners to curate an unforgettable experience for your team.
  • Show your appreciation to your hardworking employees with these corporate retreat gifts that will also work as great souvenirs for your retreat.
  • Check out the article on virtual retreat ideas to transform your virtual meetings into engaging and memorable experiences. 
  • For some more ideas, go through our article on luxury corporate retreats and discover how they can  elevate your business.
  • Read our insightful article on executive burnout retreats and uncover how these retreats can restore your wellbeing.

1. How Small Businesses Can Benefit by Organizing a Retreat

  • Enhances creativity
Unique retreat ideas can enhance the creativity of your team by encouraging fresh mental connections, leading to new insights and more creative solutions in team meetings. As research psychologists have shown, a “novel stimulus” triggers the brain to make different associations between familiar ideas or objects, leading to imaginative problem solving.
  • Boosts employee morale
A common company retreat purpose is to improve morale among staff and can help break up the lethargy engendered by the daily grind. Acknowledge your staff’s hard work with a fun excursion or organize a motivational speaker to address the team if you feel that everyone needs a bit of a pep talk. 
  • Builds trust
Retreats can deliver an opportunity to build rapport between team members by creating a conducive environment for open communication, team-building activities, and shared experiences that promote trust, understanding, and camaraderie.
  • Improves communication
Small business retreats can also teach individuals better communications skills by providing a relaxed and collaborative setting where team members can engage in open discussions, active listening and effective communication exercises. These could be icebreaker games, group challenges and problem-solving exercises, which foster teamwork and encourage productive dialog.
  • Encourages innovation
Creative thinking combined with robust communication often leads inexorably to innovation.. Retreats are particularly important for fostering these conditions in the wake of increased remote working, as some studies have shown that teleconferencing inhibits creative solutions.
  • Better employee engagement
Employee engagement is the key to unlocking increased profitability, productivity and customer loyalty. Corporate getaways can be viewed as a tool to simultaneously refresh and refocus a team, so that individuals feel more engaged with the company culture as well as the objectives of their role.

2. 12 Best Small Business Retreat Ideas

2.1. Outdoor Small Business Retreat Ideas

  • Take a technology detox day
Most modern work revolves around technology – which is why one of the best small business retreat ideas is to get away from computers and smartphones entirely. As we’ve mentioned above, changing the environment can spark fresh perspectives and lead to creative solutions to business challenges. Tech detox days can be as simple as self-organizing a hike to a local beauty spot or going with a bespoke service that will manage the details for you.
  • Winery retreat
Winery-retreat If you’re looking for a place where colleagues can relax and get to know each other a bit better while learning about a fascinating topic, a winery retreat is an excellent option. Many wineries around the world have actually leaned into the corporate potential of their business by offering spaces where teams can hold meetings in between sampling the local vintages. This activity works particularly well as a staff retreat for small staff numbers, as larger groups cannot be easily accommodated by most wineries.
  • Explore a nearby city
Keep things affordable but also adventurous by arranging a trip to a nearby city or town. Begin by doing a quick Google search of the surrounding area – you may be surprised by the number of hidden gems that lie right on your doorstep. A change of scenery is great for fostering creativity, while a semi-holiday will help to bolster company morale and engagement.
  • Team sports day
One of the most long-standing retreat activities for adults is the team sports day. There are all sorts of games you can incorporate, including school classics like the egg-and-spoon race, tug of war and the three-legged race. Aside from getting people relaxed and chatting, there are few small business retreat ideas that are as good for developing teamwork in a casual context.
  • Scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are a smart way to include important soft skills like communication and problem solving within the retreat framework. Not only do they get people working together outside of the office, they’re also just a lot of wholesome fun! Many organizations specialize in offering corporate scavenger hunts, with a huge range of options available to suit your business objectives.
  • Nature retreat
Encourage employees to engage with their wild side on a nature retreat. Decide how close to the flora and fauna you want to get, whether that means simply hiring a digitally equipped venue ensconced in a forest, going on a glamping vacation in a field or arranging a series of outdoor pursuits, from kayaking to raft building. The fresh air might just facilitate the brainstorming of some fresh ideas and bring a fresh sense of engagement to the workplace.

2.2. Indoor Small Business Retreat Ideas

  • Cooking class
If you are looking for small business retreat ideas that can take place regardless of the weather, a cooking class is a fun and instructional way to bring the team together. Introduce a competitive element with head-to-head gourmet challenges that rely on teamwork, or give back to society by serving up culinary delights for the needy that will help feed those at a local homeless shelter. 
  • Yoga sessions
Yoga has been shown to help people manage stress as well as support general physical wellness. Organize an introductory session for your staff or whisk them away to a calming yoga retreat as a thank you for their hard work following the completion of an intense project. Relaxation and mindfulness exercises developed through yoga can later be applied in the office, providing your team with a tool to handle challenging situations. To prepare your employees for the retreat, you can do a Chair Yoga Class by Horray Teams. Hooray Teams is a teambuilding platform that helps your distributed team connect again.
  • Team lunch
Small business retreat ideas don’t have to be any more complicated than a team lunch somewhere fun or fancy. Meals can help boost morale, improve communication between colleagues and build trust. While regular team lunches keep staff engaged, you can also consider a more elaborate, less frequent team lunch event that incorporates presentations and discussion sessions to boost innovative thinking. 
  • Small hackathon
The word ‘hackathon’ might make you think that this activity is solely applicable for computer programmers, but the concept has become a common tool to encourage brainstorming and problem solving across all corporate verticals. The key to a successful hackathon is to ensure everyone has plenty of time to prepare their solutions or ideas for a particular challenge ahead of the event, so that on the day(s) they can then have in-depth discussions.
  • Creativity workshop
Creativity-workshop What better way to foster creativity in your office than with a creativity workshop? There are all sorts of options that can be delivered both in person and virtually, including painting, pottery and drawing classes, as well as more unusual lessons on T-shirt making and macrame. In addition to being a fun activity, a creativity workshop can unlock skills related to innovative thinking and enable individuals to consider and absorb different perspectives. If you aren't sure about which activity to conduct, you can contact Hooray Teams. They have a 
  • Karaoke night
Karaoke might not directly boost innovative thinking, but it is a great way to build rapport within a small business. After all, how could you not trust the person who puts their heart and soul into singing a completely off-key version of Dancing Queen? Karaoke allows people to let off steam and get to know one another better through a morale-building afternoon or evening of (more or less) tuneful warbling.

3. FAQs

  • How do I start a business retreat?
Whether you are planning a small business retreat for your entire team or just a single department, the first step is to consider the goals of the getaway. If you want to stimulate conversation regarding specific challenges, you can compile a list of company retreat topics to cover during the course of the event.
  • How do you make a retreat interesting?
Think about the people in your business and what they might most benefit from doing. You can even hold an anonymous poll to see what the majority of staff think would be most useful or most enjoyable.
  • What do you do at a company retreat?
That entirely depends on what you want to achieve. Your business might decide to focus on developing specific skills, for example through leadership retreat activities. Alternatively, you may just wish to reward staff for their hard work with a fun team activity like karaoke.
  • What makes a great business retreat?
Most staff retreats involve team socializing, entertainment, relaxation and/or skills building. Your small business retreat can incorporate one or all of these aspects, depending on whether your aim is to drive productivity or foster better work relationships.

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