Planning an away day? | Incentive & Motivation

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Planning an away day?

If you’re thinking of planning an away day or break that’s aimed at motivating your workforce, the good news is that pretty much anything is available.

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Depending on your perspective, endless possibility can either be the opportunity to let your imagination run wild, limited only by budget and imagination, or you can feel daunted by the choice on offer and wonder how on earth you’re going to down narrow the options.

Yes, there are a number of key factors to take into consideration (listed over the page) but when done well, team-building away days can be an excellent way to leave your staff feeling motivated, refreshed and ready for action. According to Adrian Duncan, of P&MM Motivation, team-building days offer a plethora of benefits and have a hugely positive impact on motivation levels. P&MM Motivation’s expertise includes establishing the most effective way to motivate and engage staff, and it advises and plans team days out for its clients.

Duncan says: “Heightened and more productive working relationships can be developed, which, in turn, boost overall efficiency levels across the business. Enabling staff to share an experience and interact with their colleagues in an environment outside of the typical working setting helps them to bond, establish existing relationships and create new ones. Through working together as a team, employees gain an improved awareness of the value of teamwork.  

“Another key advantage is that away days offer many opportunities to involve every member of staff in roles they may not usually operate. This helps to highlight talents, strengths and areas of ability in a new way. It also promotes leadership skills by giving employees a new element of responsibility beyond the realm of working duties. From an employee’s perspective, team-building days demonstrate that the employer has a vested interest in their well being and wants the team to engage and form positive relationships in a fun and motivating environment. They are also a valid way to boost motivation levels at a time when recessionary constraints mean they may be waning. An event that encourages collaboration can be an effective way of raising morale.”

Bill Low of Love2reward has been organising team-building and motivational away days for years and now offers the service as part of Love2reward’s portfolio. Low says: “We started offering event planning off the back of what we do. Love2reward has employees all over the UK, so once a year we get them all together and take them away for a motivational weekend.

“If you’re asking people to think and plan creatively for the next 12 months of business, you can’t do it effectively at your normal place of work, surrounded by the usual distractions, so we take them to a nice, comfortable environment where they can really think. The results we’ve had as a business speak for themselves.”

So how should you set about organising such an event? There are a number of important principles to follow:

1. Establish what are you trying to achieve
Take into account the challenges that face your colleagues and use them to ascertain your objectives for the day. Low says: “You have to have clear objectives and you have to be determined that those objectives are going to be achieved. Once those aims have been established, you can start to plan the structure of the day.”

2. Think about your environment
Duncan says: “Days are often based outdoors and, because employees are so far removed from the typical working environment, this helps to bring out individuals’ different sides. Activities that include games and a high element of team-based effort help integrate employees. Days (or evenings) out can also be based around a fun theme and offer staff the opportunity to dress up according to the theme. Evening dinners following a day out offer a chance to socialise and wind down.”

3. Who and how many will be attending?
Duncan continues: “The type of event you organise often depends on several factors, such as the size of the company and its needs and also the reasons why a team-building day is being held. For example, within a large organisation, the head of a department might plan an away day to thank employees for meeting sales targets, whereas a smaller company may schedule an event for the entire workforce following recent new appointments as an introductory technique. 

“There is huge scope and flexibility with team-building days, and there’s certainly something for every company and every team. The main goal, however, is to ensure that the day is fun, encourages interaction and doesn’t feel like a typical day at work.” 

You should also think about the abilities of the people attending – people who don’t have high levels of fitness may immediately be at a disadvantage if you’re planning strenuous physical activities, and may disengage from the event.

4. Consider a helping hand
If organising your event is proving a struggle, an entire industry has developed around planning team-building activities, so the experts are just a phone call away.

“Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of an expert. Hiring a professional company to plan the day for you in accordance with your budget, goals and objectives gives you confidence that the event will be a success,” says Duncan.

Low continues: “A company like Love2reward can help you quickly decide upon what’s needed, as we have the resources and knowledge available to find exactly what clients are looking for.”

 

5. Don’t stop at the end of the day
There’s nothing worse than a business activity that goes nowhere. If people are prepared to take time out of their busy working lives to attend and participate in your event, it’s your responsibility to ensure that there is a follow up. Once back in the workplace, relate back to what was covered during the event. Plan sessions where you discuss what was learned, hone in on what can be improved and offer practical advice on how this can be done.

Ideas to inspire

Duncan says: “From team-based Monopoly using taxis in London, or more simple country pursuit days including archery, quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, there is something to suit every need. Evenings with a ‘60s, ‘70s or Las Vegas theme, add fun to corporate gatherings.”

Here are two more examples:

Treetop team building
Go Ape, the forest adventure company, has just launched a new range of team-building courses. Open from February to November, its bespoke packages create a full day of activities to suit a range of budgets. The company, which can accommodate groups from 10-280, has also expanded its Go Ape Forest Segway adventure, allowing riders to get off the beaten track and explore off-road on trails through the forest in eight locations in the UK. Conference facilities are also available.

 

Center forwardCenter Parcs has launched a new day delegate package, which allows organisers to get the best out of their teams in just one day. The new Active8 eight-hour rate starts with breakfast on arrival, the morning includes hire of a meeting room, followed by lunch. For the afternoon, delegates are taken out into Center Parcs’ 400 acres of woodland. The package includes a choice of two activities built with specific objectives in mind. Activities include : abseiling, laser combat, tree trekking, archery, paintballing and a spa session.

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