It seems the effort and expense of packing up your team or department to “somewhere nice” without distractions are big questions that are being raised in corporate culture in 2015. Does it save to spend money on perks at the office and use the in-house boardroom rather than escaping the office in a company retreat?
The logic behind corporate getaways is that a regular workday is full of distractions that bombard the average employee. Cut the distractions, force the team together and the relationships & skills they develop during the getaway time causes development to carry into the workplace. Being away from the normal environment allows dedicated focus and concentration. In addition, a company getaway is often a perk for an employee to stay “somewhere nice” that they may not do on their own.
The counter argument is that company getaways are more problematic than they are worth. Putting a bunch of adults in a confined space for a long period is not all sunshine and rainbows, individuals need to arrange home lives and confined unwilling adults may have tempers that fray or anxiety that kicks in! In addition the cost of transport, food, accommodation, venue hire and entertainment can be very expensive.
Over the years, Cape Point Route has seen the ever increasing demands on companies for continuous innovation, focus and drive. We have noticed and heard that regular time-out experiences and smaller corporate getaways really help rejuvenation of body, mind, team spirit, creative ideas and productivity. Being away from your regular environment and slowing down time in a well planned location, allows team members to think a little bit differently about the way they communicate and depend on each other.
Cape Point Route believes however that careful goal setting, planning, attention to detail and implementation are the keys to a successful getaway. Cape Point Route has compiled a guide to help organizers tackle and address some of the key questions required when planning a company retreat.
HOW TO PLAN A CORPORATE GETAWAY
Why are you going away? What is your Getaway Goal?
What’s the point of your corporate getaway? Why are you going away with your team?
Is it for Strategic planning, budgeting, problem solving, building the team, development of goals or planning and organizing a product or project launch?
Your goal will determine how much time needs to be allocated to conference and meeting time. Your goal will also determine who is invited. Do accounts and IT both have to attend? Be sure that everyone knows the objective and what the plan and schedule will be so they can be prepared prior to attendance. It may well be worth discussing ideas with the participants to see if they have any input, and more buy-in once in attendance.
How much can you spend on accommodation, entertainment, food, transport, venue hire, and equipment for your company retreat? Are there hidden or unknown extra costs like gratuity or equipment hire? You will need to know the number of people attending and how long you need to be away for to plan the venue, meeting space and transportation.
Location: Where should you go?
This must accommodate your group and your goals. Is there enough meeting space? Do you need breakaway rooms? What recreational space is required for your conference and getaway? We recommend choosing a destination close to home (within a 2-3 hour drive of Cape Town) and we recommend a venue that offers both accommodation and meals on site. It is generally agreed that a pleasant and calm location with fresh air and nature produces great conference getaways with positive results, due to the inspiration.
For overnight accommodation be sure to check on whether your delegates can share a bedroom and whether the rooms have twin options (2 x single beds).
If participants are “away” they are less likely to be interrupted by phone calls & distractions of daily living. When they are away they tend to focus on topic at hand. They are less likely to ‘leave early’ or ‘arrive late’. Being away creates an atmosphere that is conducive to teamwork, creative thinking and consensus building.
Time: How long should your getaway be & what time of year?
This will naturally depend on your goals and how many people are attending. Most smaller corporate getaways are planned for a day and a half with some social time and/or teambuilding time. It is becoming common to conference on the first day and have a dinner/social activity in the evening with an optional morning conference or teambuilding activity on the second morning. Remember that many venues offer mid-week and mid-winter specials on venue hire.
Content & Programme: What are you including on the agenda?
Work on the content and decide if you need external professional facilitators, or external equipment. Check whether your venue has WiFi connectivity, projectors, screens, notepads/pens or any other audio-visual equipment. Don’t forget to plan any travel time and arrange transport logistics.
Remember that your delegates may also need a small amount of time-out. Be sure to bring alternative options of venue facilities to the delegates attention. e.g. a spa on-site. Be clear when “time-at-leisure” is scheduled.
People need to stay energized and full of fuel to keep concentrating ! Make sure there is enough food and water, coffee, beverages and snacks available throughout the day. Be sure to check if any of your delegates have dietary restrictions for health or religious purposes. A dietary disaster can ruin a corporate getaway.
Social and fun:
Do organize something fun or social. This could be in the form of a team-building activity or hosted entertainment with the team. There are formal (yet fun) team-building options available to structure the getaway or you could simply include a social function or event. You can also ask for ideas from the delegates about the getaway prior to departure. If they feel involved it does somewhat compensate for pulling them away from their homes and families. Never forget the value of unplanned fun with your team.
Follow up & Review
During the Corporate Getaway you can usually gauge how things are going if you are slightly observant. Are your employees working well together? How are they re-acting to each other? If there is a laughter and collaboration then you should be on the right track.
After the Corporate Getaway is when you will should see the difference. Sometimes the results are intangible interactions between staff that develop from the getaway and grow with time.
The other way to find out if your getaway was a success is to ask your team directly what they liked and didn’t like and what they learned from the Getaway. This will help with planning the next ‘escape-the-office’.
So is the company or departmental getaway a good idea?
Despite the term corporate getaway – it’s not an escape to get away from work. Rather it is an opportunity to take work to another level and be aware of higher objectives and shared goals.
Cape Point Route believes corporate getaways are hugely beneficial that if cash flow and your circumstances can afford the physical costs and the time out of the office, then Corporate Getaways have been proven to booster team spirit and productivity. If a full overnight getaway is not within budget, consider a half day teambuilding activity for your company.
Winelands Corporate Getaways
Conference Getaway: Erinvale Estate, Somerset West
- Winelands Mystery Getaway at Erinvale Estate from R1,300 pp
- Winelands Amazing Getaway at Erinvale Estate from R1,950 pp
Conference Getaway: Devon Valley Estate, Stellenbosch
- Winelands Potjiekos Getaway at Devon Valley from R1,000 pp
- Winelands Food & Wine Getaway at Devon Valley from R1,200 pp
Conference Getaway: Val Du Charron, Wellington
Peninsula Corporate Getaways
Conference Getaway: Simon’s Town
Conference Getaway: Fish Hoek
Max delegates 50
Rate: From R1,550 including 1 1/2 days conference, accommodation, 4 meals
Cape Point Route also offers day tours, packages, accommodation, activities and car hire in Cape Town’s south peninsula in addition to teambuilding events in Cape Town CBD, the Cape Winelands, Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs and Cape Town’s southern suburbs and south peninsula. Call 021 789 0093 or visit www.capepointroute.co.za