A sense of community is important in a business - whether you're a small start-up or a huge multinational enterprise. Having fun as a team is a great way of creating that feeling. Jeanne Tsan, head of HR at WeWork Europe and Israel, explores what makes a great team away day.
Away days have often been tarnished with a bad name, with awkward team building exercises in the middle of a field being the first image that springs to mind. Yet the real focus should be on shared experiences and creating a sense of community - regardless of whether your business is 30 or 3,000 people, if you can create that feeling of community, then you’re on track for a great away day.
At WeWork, we pride ourselves on our sense of community, whether you are a freelancer or a fortune 500 company, which is why we host our annual Summer Camp, where we invite all members from around the world to a festival-esque getaway – creating a space where they can simply have a break. It’s a chance to catch-up and make new relationships with people from all over the world. From speaker events to outdoor activities, it’s an opportunity for teams to build their sense of community.
Organising an away day shouldn’t be viewed as chore, so these are our five tips to create the ultimate away day experience:
Decide what you want to achieve
Before you start booking venues and planning activities, think about what you want to achieve. It’s a big undertaking to have your entire team together, so take time to decide what the purpose is. Do you want the team to become closer? Organise a relaxing break? Or challenge them to do something different? Once you have agreed this, the logistics will follow.
It doesn’t just have to be a “day”
One of the biggest misconception of an ‘away day’ is that it should be limited to a day. Don’t constrain your away day by what you think it should be, create something that’s unique to you and your business and will truly engage your colleagues. Our Summer Camp takes place over a long weekend, giving everyone the chance to connect outside of work and live fully and freely for a few days. For us it’s about creating an environment where our members can have multiple experiences and interactions with colleagues.
Create shared experiences
Getting people out of the office and away from their desks offers a great chance to create a sense of community amongst your team. These days are a chance to connect outside of the office and with the wider community. Whether it’s traditional networking events or drinks around a camp fire, the unabashed power of community should not be underestimated. Regardless of the size or scale of the event you organise, try and make sure that it is meaningful and valuable to all.
Pick a location away from the norm
When you work within the confines of a city, you still have a certain level of internal restrain. Pick a location that is away from the usual haunts and give people a chance to truly discover something new. Creating an engaging environment is about so much more than just the physical workspace. Picking a location that is energizing will create a strong sense of community and will make the experience more memorable.
Always ask for feedback
You ultimately want to create a day which has inspired your team, so don’t be afraid to ask your team for feedback. What did they love and what would they change? This will be great for helping you shape the event and enhance it for next time.
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