Last week the Ditto team hit the road for a company retreat in upstate New York at the beautiful Greek Peak Mountain Resort.
To hear “company retreat” and not picture trust falls is tough, but the truth is, the time spent together “retreating” provided many benefits for each person on the team (sans trust falls). We traded conference rooms for mountain adventures and this time reminded me of why taking a trip together is so important:
Creates Shared Experiences
Having the opportunity to authentically share experiences and bond outside of work not only enhances the activity, but enriches interactions back in the workplace as well. When employees feel more connected, a deeper tie to the team and business exists which contributes to a better work environment overall. Plus, it’s fun to be around people you enjoy in a relaxed environment, when so much of a typical day revolves around work.
Rejuvenates Team Energy
A company retreat is like exercising to create more energy. Investing the time and resources for a team to get outside of the office and get together generates more creative and positive energy to bring back to work. The Ditto retreat had exercises that fostered team building and problem solving: themes that translate back to our jobs. We also got to share new experiences like hitting the zip line and elevated rope course for some fun.
Exposes Hidden Talents
Participating in activities that fall outside of daily job requirements, gives people a chance to shine in unexpected ways and showcase other talents. Here’s a perfect example: one of our activities was to break into teams of three: each person had to lose one of their “senses” to complete the task. One person couldn’t rely on their sight to navigate an obstacle course, one person had to be the voice command but not use their eyes, and the third person could see but had to mime the instructions to the person with a voice. Not only was it funny, it was interesting to see how our teams quickly adapted strategy and communication style to achieve the goal, i.e. getting your blindfolded team mate safely across the obstacle course. Interestingly enough, some people shined in certain roles compared to others, which underscored the value of building a team with diverse strengths and contributions.
Solidifies Values and Promotes Culture
Having open conversations about the business and the direction for a company helps unify the team towards a common goal. This retreat was a great forum to further build our culture. Everyone has since walked away with a deeper understanding of the company we’re helping to grow, the values most important in the organization and what strengths to bring forward in order to achieve our new goals.