With Remote Work Offsite Meetings Are Key to Team Cohesion

During a Time of Remote Work a Grounded Approach to Team Success Should Include the Wisdom that New Physical Environments Are Good and Necessary to Ongoing Cohesion

“If we don’t come together, right now, on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed — just like they were. I don’t care if you like each other or not. But you will respect each other.”

Chances are your next team offsite meeting won’t be memorialized as a major motion picture, but there are lessons to be learned from Remember the Titans that you can apply today.

The Disfunction of the Day to Day Workplace

We are creatures of habit. This really isn’t up for debate. Whether at home or in office, our brains necessarily create routines that are meant to allow us to focus on the what we deem to be priorities. I emphasize “meant to” as many times these routines start to become the very things that keep us from priorities. “Essentialism” author Greg McKeown says “The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years.” Multi-tasking is a myth.

So what happens when largely unconscious, rarely priority driven individual habits exist in a team environment? You get a bunch of people going in different directions. This is human existence in summary.

Offsite Meetings Remove Distractions

As a leader how do you attempt to create a higher sense of common direction working within the inevitable distraction and disfunction described above? You have to get team members away from the normal signals and routines by physically removing them from the normal environment.

There was a reason your high school soccer team took a trip to Bradford Woods. There is a reason your fraternity did a ropes course before the start of fall semester. When we pull ourselves out of the comfortable norm, we have a brief but meaningful space where we can actually change.

Costs of Having Offsite Meetings

While pulling your team out of the normal environment will create a more fertile ground for focusing around goals and mission, it won’t happen at random.

One thing we encourage at Refinery46 is to recognize the high costs of the offsite, to help motivate the required preparation. Let’s say you have a team of 10 with an average salary of $50,000 and you dedicate a day – you’re dedicating $2,000 dollars of labor cost before you even get into space rental, food, and opportunity cost. Knowing the investment you’re making, don’t just show up and wing it. Have a gameplan.

Preparation for Maximum Impact Offsite Meetings

Asking some key questions of yourself before planning your offsite will lead to a great sense of success:

  1. Where are you now and where do you want to be at the end of the meeting? There should be some tangible purpose and outcome that is known among all participants. This is best when it’s communicated in advance and visually communicated within material or slides at meeting.
  2. Activity plans. Making your offsite meetings fun and help spark the creativity that many groups are hoping to see within offsites. What are some ways you can pull in fun exercises to help illustrate some of the growth you’re trying to foster?
  3. Breaks & food. Well planned breaks with food are not just good, but can be necessary. You’re probably taking people used to autonomy and asking them to sit in some form of guided day. Too autocratic of a plan can undermine your goals, so build in flexibility.
  4. Ask for feedback. Since this isn’t a one-time thing, seek honest feedback from your team. Build those questions around what you view as the true goals of the time. i.e. “Did we move closer to alignment around the shared goal of growing 15% in 2020? Rank 1-10” Not “How was the offsite meeting?”

Refinery46 Hosts Indianapolis Offsite Meetings for Remote Workers

For businesses and non profits across Indianapolis, Refinery46 has been a great location for half-day or all-day offsite meetings. The combination of a unique location, space to spread out, and onsite food & beverage options has made it a convenient getaway.

With rates ranging from $400 – $750 for the larger spaces and $150-$250 for meeting and conference rooms, you’re unlikely to find a better priced option for your team. Sound appealing? Fill out this form or message us at addison@refinery46.com.