The offsite experience: Why fun company get-togethers are key to boosting employee engagement

Ola Polczynski
10 November - 5 min read

For many businesses, the team bonding experience often stops at the weekly Monday team catch up session, or perhaps the CEO delivers a regular update from the boardroom, and then you might end the week with some Friday afternoon office nibbles and drinks. And while these sessions are all 100 per cent necessary in promoting facetime and a regular flow of information within the company, it’s often confined to the office ‘space’ where employee attention can be somewhat dispersed. 

Often businesses and business owners are so focused on making sure their staff are working hard that they forget a critical component of a productive workforce – happiness.  A happy team is generally more satisfied, more likely to stick with a company and are all-round better at their jobs. 

The Spenda Experience

At Spenda we know that people make a company great. We recognise that happy, well-balanced staff are more productive. So, we’ve created an environment that promotes creativity, ownership and trust in every part of the business. 
 
Just because we’ve moved to a virtual working environment, it doesn’t mean we communicate any less. In fact, we talk a lot more, and because our interactions happen mainly via video chat and email, our in-person catch-ups feel that extra bit special. Each month we hold a company-wide in-person gathering. Our remote staff, until travel restrictions have been lifted, join us virtually for part of the day, and then organise a fun event locally.
 
These social gatherings give our company an opportunity to combine work and play with a purpose. We strongly feel that when you take employees outside of the “office” environment, they are able to connect more on a personal level with each other and build deeper team bonds. We’ve found people are more interested in what the Company’s future is when they understand the importance of their individual role towards the wider company purpose. And let’s face it, it’s sometimes nice to break up the work routine and hang out with your colleagues.
 
Our November activity was Go-Karting. Here, we were able to come together, be present, learn more about each other, bond and get a bit competitive – free from distractions of meetings, calls and emails. As the Company is growing, we also had a lot of new starters so this was the perfect opportunity for everyone to get to know each other. 
 

So if you’re looking to shake up your company gatherings in an effective, yet fun manner here are our top tips for success.

1. Understand your goals

Really understand WHY you’re meeting up and want to get out of the gathering. Off-site experiences cost money so you need to make sure you are getting a return on your investment. Do you want to improve communication between teams? Are there morale issues to work through? Do you want the whole team to be a part of strategic planning? Once you know your goals, you can better plan the activities for the day. 

2. Timing Matters

The worst thing you can do is plan your events around key deadlines within the business. Perhaps sales have key targets to meet at the end of each month. The tech team may be working on product features that have tight deadlines. Be conscious of what everyone is doing and give people a lot of notice so they can schedule their work around the event. While you can’t completely avoid task conflicts, planning ahead will minimise their impact.

3. Location, location, location

If you are planning on holding regular off-sites, keep it fresh every time and change up the location. Also, be cognisant of where everyone lives and try to keep it fair. Our Spenda team is quite spread out across Perth, so we try to mix up the location of our events. Sometimes we favour the north of the river crew, and other times, the south-siders get the better deal. It’s all about compromise.

Of course, with COVID-19, air on the side of caution and follow the advice given by your respective location. We’ve been really lucky here in Perth, but if you are not able to meet up in person, get creative. Perhaps you can organise a company pub quiz or planning session across video chat. Keep connected with your team in whatever means you have available to you.

4. Change it up

Don’t plan the same event every time. Mix it up with different activities. Every gathering should have a different purpose. Maybe one time you want to promote team bonding, so plan challenges and games that require teamwork and problem-solving. Next time it could be getting everyone involved in building company values. Another gathering can be used for strategy and planning. 

5. Make it fun

Never trust those people who say you can’t have fun and get your work done at the same time. Because you absolutely can. A company off-site SHOULD be fun. While you have everyone’s attention, use this time to build a happy and collaborative environment that gets everyone excited about their position in the company, and about the company’s future. Remember, off-sites don’t need to be expensive, get creative and you can find something to do that’s suited to any budget.

At Spenda, we like to think we’re a pretty awesome bunch. We work hard and we also like to play hard. We believe that every single team member plays a key role in Spenda’s success today and into the future, and our social gatherings really help to keep us connected as one team.

 

Think you’ve got what it takes to join the Spenda team? We’re always on the lookout for amazing talent to join our growing team, so hop on over to our Careers page and get in touch with us.

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