Corporate jobs can add a lot of stress to any employee whether company staff works remotely, on-site, or in a hybrid format. However, businesses can reinvest or provide some off time for team development and personal development through a corporate retreat. 

Planning and setting up a corporate retreat will take time, and a fine focus on what the objectives of the retreat should meet. A retreat can have multiple benefits to the employees, including motivation and productivity, and creativity. A corporate retreat will allow company staff to meet outside of the office, away from typical responsibilities. This provides downtime and socializing among different team members.

There are a few benefits to a corporate retreat. A retreat encourages team building and brainstorming. Moving the employees outside of the office can provide them with a fresh perspective on current problems. These retreats can equip employees to ask one another for advice on certain headaches at work. Which can lead to new and creative input from teammates to solve those problems. This grows company culture and allows the remote team to meet the leadership team and other team members.

A company retreat can provide the employees with free additional training to ensure that they are equipped to deal with customers, problems, and other teammates. Companies can use a retreat to ensure company priorities and values throughout the year.

What are the Elements of a Corporate Retreat?

Every retreat consists of certain elements. These elements can lead to the success or demise of a retreat. Not all of these elements must be present in all the company retreats. However, the more these fundamental elements are present, the higher the company’s chances of gaining the most out of these sessions. Ensure to discuss these elements in the retreat planning process.

Budget and Finances

The budget and the financial aspect of a retreat is the starting point of planning a retreat for the staff. A company can not decide on the location or itinerary before the retreat’s budget is not set. This will allow the planning team to allocate funding for specific activities, accommodation, transport, and meals. 

Before deciding on the fun activities that will motivate teamwork, the management team will need to decide the number of employees attending the retreat. This will lay the foundation for the rest of the activities. 

Once the capacity of employees is decided, the budget can be set for traveling to and from the location. This can be as simple as a bus ride, or as complex as a trip to a foreign country. Transport of all sorts must be added. The budget for meals will be set for two or three meals per day, per employee unless communicated otherwise. 

The company must allocate finances to the location, activities planned, and speakers that will be speaking at the retreat. All costs must be accounted for, to ensure that the business has the money to provide the retreat.

Location and Venue

Deciding on a location and venue for the company retreat can play a key part in planning the event. The venue goes hand-in-hand with the number of employees attending the meeting. The venue must be able to comfortably host every employee and speaker of the day. The location can have multiple venues to ensure that all the sessions can be hosted in separate venues.

Choosing a venue based on activities can be something to focus on. Some activities can perhaps be outside and ensuring that the venue has the space and area for staff to partake in running or fun activities that are outdoors.

Some retreats offer overnight stays at certain locations. Companies need to focus on the accommodation and the travel to the destination for all their employees. A venue will have to accommodate sleeping arrangements for the whole team. If this is not accessible, the company will need to look for a different venue. 

Schedule and Agenda

Managers and business owners can decide, after setting the objective, what will appear on the itinerary and schedule. The schedule and agenda must be aligned with the company goals and objectives of the corporate retreat. 

The first key focus point is to schedule breaks and meal times. Most companies focus solely on the primary objectives and speakers. These breaks must be calculated and added strategically. Breaks will ensure that staff is well rested and ready to receive or work on the problem at hand. 

Plan out the primary key meetings. These are compulsory for all retreat members. This is where the main focus of the retreat will be communicated and worked on. Employees will know what to expect, and what speakers and topics will be dealt with. 

The third important item is to schedule the activities. This will inform the members of what lies ahead and what to expect. The activities are where all the fun happens. Teammates learn how to work with each other and can have a laugh while they at it. 

Lastly, companies can focus on the arrival and departure of the attendees. This will provide the employees with the specific time allocated to arrive and what time they are expected to be occupied by the retreat. 

Activities and Team Building Exercises

Activities at a retreat must be fun. Fun activities draw all members to partake. Once the team is in a positive and playful state, corporate businesses can focus on boosting team morale. The activities must be based on the objectives and goals of the retreat. 

Some objectives of an activity can be to build morale, develop core values or resolve conflict that appears regularly. The activities will create a calm and peaceful environment where they have no tasks or managers pulling them down. 

Fun activities can be board games, singing karaoke, and hosting a welcome party. Some activities such as hosting a guest speaker or watching motivational videos can create momentum the team can take into their workplace. 

Accommodations and Meals

Employees differ from one another. This is specifically true when observing eating habits. A company retreat must provide members with nurturing meals. These meals must meet their basic needs, and fill their stomachs. This is crucial to allow employees to be energized and ready to provide the needed input.

Using a template for employees to fill in beforehand will allow the planning committee to ensure that every person has access to what they enjoy. Providing vegan, vegetarian, and meat options must not be optional. 

A retreat must not irritate any of the employees. Companies can ensure that this does not happen, by providing meals that are suited to all their needs and wants. 

Transportation and Logistics

Providing the employees with logistics such as the locations, itinerary to take, and time to be present at the event. Employees have time to prepare for the event and to ensure that all they need, they have.

If the retreat is based in a different country that requires documents, the company must ensure that all these documents are filled in for the entire team. If the documentation requires personal information, the company can distribute the documents in time to ensure that the employees can fill in and provide the necessary information. 

Transportation is the last bit of administration to ensure the members arrive safely at the set locations, and back home. Providing the employees with transportation can contribute to the trip’s enjoyment. Employees do not have the headache of organizing and arranging transport to and from the venue. 

Guest Speakers and Trainers

Guest speakers are a great way to motivate the team. These speakers can provide insight into what it takes to succeed in a particular field. Guest speakers can advise and answer burning questions the team has. 

A guest speaker creates the feeling of an external individual, which will lead the team to feel open to communicating with an outsider. Organizing multiple guest speakers that are qualified in various fields will allow all members to gain knowledge and insight from the sessions.

Technology and Equipment

Setting up the correct equipment for the retreat is crucial. The team will need to state what they need, and why they need it and decide on the placement before all the attendees arrive. Equipment can be seen as products such as a screen to display videos on, a mic and system for the guest speakers, and lights and cameras if needed. 

Companies can hire technology and equipment gurus that obtain experience through arranging and running multiple retreats. This will allow them to have a technician on-site if the technology starts yielding problems.

Taking advantage of the visual aspect of a retreat will allow all attendees to partake in the information provided. Some enjoy visuals, while others prefer verbal communication. Ensure that both are covered throughout the retreat. Screens, music, and speakers will add to the atmosphere of the meeting and can motivate the members to participate. 

Top Destinations for Corporate Retreats

Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe is a great location for the outdoor retreat plan. With the beautiful lake, snowy mountains, and ski trial options, the whole team will have a leisure activity for them. It also provides hiking trails, golf courses, and some nightlife that the whole team can enjoy together. 

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas provides companies with a great weekend retreat. Austin is well known for its vibrant music and restaurants as well as the museums and outdoor activities. This is a good choice if the company wants to balance outdoor activities with fun restaurants and iconic museums.

Park City, Utah

Park City has a wide variety of activities and shops the team can visit. There will be something for everyone. Some will enjoy snowboarding and skiing, while others enjoy the calmer cooking classes and wine-tasting experiences. 

Miami, Florida

Miami is well known for its golden beaches and lively atmosphere. This location provides amazing restaurants and hotels on the beachfront. Employees will have the opportunity to have a retreat with the ocean underneath their feet. 

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina can be used to extract the team away from the screens and into nature. Companies can use private resorts to ensure that the team has no interference. An entire resort for team building, meetings, and mountain leisure activities. 

Banff, Alberta, Canada

Banff, Alberta provides companies with mesmerizing mountains, lakes, and waterfall options. Banff is a location the whole team will enjoy. The amazing food and Canadian culture combined with the beautiful landscape and nature will leave the whole team excited. 

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas is where the desert meets the ocean. With the option of desert hikes, or reef diving in the ocean, the team will experience something of Mexican culture. A great retreat location to showcase different cultures and experiences. 

Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia, is not only a tourist destination. Bali resorts provide great teams, mindfulness, and other leisure activities. The team will enjoy the trip to Bali, and they will not be able to stop chatting on their way back. This is a great location for smaller teams. 

Successful Corporate Retreat Ideas

Creating a successful company retreat takes time, planning, and execution. This can be achieved by merely observing what made other retreats work in the past. Here are retreat activities and ideas that can lead to the success of the corporate retreat

Collaborative Brainstorming Sessions

Crowdstorming is a great way to hear what the team thinks of certain problems. These sessions will allow managers to tap into the creativity and knowledge of their teams to solve difficult or recurring problems. 

Most managers assume that they can solve problems and create clear goals and guidelines for the whole team without the team’s input. However, strong teams and corporations use all strengths and creativity the team provides to solve customer problems

These brainstorming sessions will allow the team to provide their input. This will provide the company with insights into what the team regards as problem areas and how they think they can be fixed within the company. 

Outdoor Adventure and Team Building Activities

Outdoor adventures and team-building activities will allow the company to create a strong bond among staff members. Outdoor activities must however suit all employees and should not create a division among them. 

Not all the employees will enjoy an activity in the form of a 5-kilometer run, or mountain climbing, thus deciding on an activity that will suit the entire team is crucial. Companies can focus on group activities. A group activity will push members to cooperate. 

Outdoor activities are better for team building, especially if these activities can take place within nature. Nature will allow the team to let their guard down, and fully invest and enjoy their time and activities as a whole. 

Check Out Designing an Effective Team Building Retreat :

Professional Development Workshops

A retreat is a perfect time to reinvest in all the attendees. They have taken the time out of their schedule to attend the meeting, thus using this time to build their repertoire will leave the retreat as a success story. 

Professional Workshops, however, must invest new skills and knowledge into the employees. The development must be valuable to the employees and not solely to the management and owner of the company. A good way to obtain insight on which skills to focus on would be to ask the employees where they want to improve. Then focus on adding those skills for the attendees. 

Wellness and Mindfulness Exercises

A retreat is a place where employees can re-energize. Mindfulness exercises such as meditation and yoga can increase employee wellness. This exercise will not only increase employee wellness for the corporate retreat but can have an everlasting improvement if done correctly.

Providing employees with a tool they can use at work or home to ensure they are mindful and at peace will have a great impact on the business. The company can arrange a specialist to teach members how to be at ease at work and home. Teaching them key exercises that can be done within minutes anywhere in the world. 

Social Events and Networking Opportunities

Retreats create the perfect networking and social opportunity. Individuals can meet other parts of a team whom they never knew of. These events bring all employees together, most of them working behind screens and only communicating through multiple different apps. 

Social events are of great use at a start or end of a retreat and can be set as both. Providing the team with time to let their hair down and enjoy time with the team members will lead them to have more energy and motivation later in the retreat. 

Social events provide a networking opportunity. By allowing different parts of the company to communicate, certain problems and issues can be resolved. The different teams can start to create creative approaches to each other’s worlds, which can lead to problems being solved without management’s involvement. 

Pitfalls to Avoid when Planning a Corporate Retreat

Not all retreats are sunshine and rainbows. Companies have obtained this knowledge through running unsuccessful retreats. By following successful ideas and avoiding the following pitfalls, the corporate retreat can only lead to a memorable experience. 

Not Defining Clear Goals and Objectives

Planning a retreat without setting any goals or objectives is only a misuse of company finances. This aimless event will lead to frustration and the disuse of time. Employees and managers will leave these events feeling irritated, with no knowledge or team building gained. 

By simply setting a goal, the planning committee can find speakers, activities, and venues that will provide the company with the necessary outcome. Which will leave the company, the employees, and the managers all on the right track for what lies ahead. 

Choosing the Wrong Location or Venue

A venue for a retreat can carry a lot of weight to the effectiveness of the event. Companies will need to identify how many members will attend the meeting, which will allow them to decide on the perfect venue for the corporate retreat. 

The venue size is what matters most. Small groups will not feel comfortable speaking their minds in a gigantic hall. However, struggling to fit a bigger group of employees in a small venue will lead to frustration. 

Pick a venue based on the size of the group. That provides enough space for every individual to move around. Companies can arrange a flexible venue if the amount of employees attending is not known. This will allow them to change to a different venue if the amount of employees exceeds the room space. 

Overloading the Schedule and Agenda

Corporate retreats are used for team building, refocusing on company goals, and re-energizing the team. This means that leaving time to reflex and relax must be part of the schedule.

Overloading the retreat agenda will leave the employees tired and overstimulated. The team will leave the event with only a handful of information that the company deemed important. Rather have fewer sessions, which will allow the team to focus and spend time on the information. 

Failing to Communicate Effectively with Attendees

Communication is key to running a successful retreat. The information shared, and the knowledge spread at these corporate events is important. However, the format in which it is shared plays a bigger role. 

Speakers and managers must communicate effectively to ensure that the employees understand exactly what is important and how to move forward. Failing to do this will leave the attendees confused and frustrated.

Not Providing Enough Downtime and Relaxation

Downtime can be the company’s best friend. Not only does this create a fun and positive environment, but it will allow the individuals to clear their minds and mentally prepare for the next sessions. 

These downtimes will provide the employees with a space to network and meet other parts of the company, as well as process all the training information or knowledge shared in the previous sessions. Use downtime strategically to instill the most into the attendees.

How Do You Structure a Corporate Retreat?

Creating a structure for the corporate event will go hand-in-hand with the objective of the event. However, every event will need a welcome party and a last meeting with a departure party. This will allow the attendees to know what to expect for the retreat and to have some guidelines on the retreat itself. 

Secondly, the planning committee can focus on adding meal times and big meetings, which will be in the guidelines booklet handed to every individual that attends the retreat. And lastly, scheduling all the downtime, small groups, and leisure activities. This way, the schedule is planned and ready to follow. Here is a template to follow.

Planning A Corporate Retreat: FAQs

How to Prepare for a Work Retreat?

Preparation starts by setting achievable goals and objectives for the retreat. Employees can then be provided with an itinerary that will showcase what they need, where, and why the retreat is organized. 

What are Examples of One-day Company Retreat Ideas?

Great examples of one-day retreats will be taking the team to a beautiful hiking location where they can talk to one another and enjoy the outdoors. Cooking classes or developing new skills such as tastings of wine or coffee. Escape rooms or movie nights can be used as retreat ideas.

Final Thoughts

Planning and hosting a retreat will be of great benefit not only to the company but to the employees. These corporate retreats will provide a space for team members to connect which will strengthen teamwork. It will provide the company to invest new information and knowledge into the team and provide them with training that will ensure a strong return back to the office. 

Companies must remember to set the goal and objectives of a retreat before planning anything else. This will lay the foundation that the rest of the retreat will follow. Plan and schedule with the employees in mind and use breaks and downtime. 

Sabine Ghali

Kelly Murphy


Certified Meeting planner with 20+ years of event management experience, founder of ConferenceSource, expert in meeting facility sourcing & contracting in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Kelly will manage your budget as if they were her own, negotiating the best possible rate and hotel contract to benefit and protect every client and exceed all expectations for all planning aspects for sales meetings, educational meetings, product launches, incentive trips down to a small board of directors meeting. We make meetings easy understanding your meeting objectives and delivering meeting matched components.