The prospect of getting out of the office and doing something different should be an exciting prospect for your team – so why have corporate away days become synonymous with awkward silences, reluctant seminars and bad coffee? It’s time for fresh ideas and an ambitious, motivating approach to corporate occasions.
I’ve been working in events for 15 years, from product launches and music festivals to every kind of corporate shindig – here are my key considerations to keep your away days fresh and challenging.
Find the perfect location
These days, corporate venues in London are many and of a high standard, but finding a convenient location that excites whilst also providing the facilities you need to achieve your ambitions can be tricky. The task gets harder in smaller cities and towns – factoring in travel costs and time taken can be an additional burden on your event that can be difficult to regulate. Want to make an immediate impression? Go for a characterful spot with a bit of history; your venue should excite your colleagues and clients as they arrive, and get them in the mood to engage with your event.
Choose right – go left-field
From cocktail-mixing and assault courses, to fruit picking and ballroom dancing – corporate away days can be a chance for teams to come together and learn a skill they might never have tried before. Of course, it’s about choosing something that suits the character and complexion of your team – but sometimes an atypical alternative can get teams working and memories made.
The element of surprise
In the build-up to your event, try to foster some mystery about the exact content of your day. No need to go the full Bond villain on them, but upon your team’s arrival, announcing the adventure you’ve got planned for the afternoon session will enthuse people to embrace the opening sessions of the day – with the exciting prospect of something unusual or unique to come.
Mix and match – but make it simple
Variety is the spice of life, and corporate events are no different. Don’t keep people cooped up all day, and don’t schedule a procession of extremely similar sessions back-to-back. It’s far better to mix-and-match and keep people engaged and moving, where possible. Combine more conventional discussions with task sessions – moving between venues and activities when feasible.
What happens next
It’s understandable – events management is such a stressful process, with sharp deadlines and key moments to execute, it can be easy to wipe the slate clean once everyone’s pottered off home again. Don’t let that happen – away days prove their worth when the discussions held and opinions aired are taken into account at a management level. Hold follow-up meetings in the weeks following the event to make sure that the conversations started turn into action. Focusing on a longer term ‘legacy’ structure can prove the value of your event and bring your role closer to the core of your business and its future goals.
Ofer Yatziv is an events and marketing manager at Better Venues. Ofer has over 15 years of experience working within events, specialising in weddings, corporate parties and bespoke entertainment. He has also worked on numerous roles as a producer of live events and festivals, including national and international theatre tours.