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For companies that work remotely or in a hybrid work model, it is very important to promote recreational meetings where all company members can attend. It is essential to encourage teamwork, appreciation and pride for the company and for those who are part of it; to foster a growth mindset; and to increase the sense of belonging.
These types of events are especially convenient for companies with high staff turnover. Establishing close bonds with the people you work with remotely, hybridly, or even in-person can take a lot of time. Creating experiences that go beyond the work routine can accelerate those timelines.
To make this possible, the company must guarantee the necessary facilities, such as granting half a day (or a day) off so that those who are far away can travel; covering tickets or fuel; and providing food, drink, and accommodation throughout the event. In addition, a motivating proposal should be offered so that people feel interested and enthusiastic about participating.
This article will address all these topics and will also tell you what types of face-to-face gatherings can be held. Besides, we will give you 10 concrete steps to help you organize events successfully.
In this article:
At XOOR we hold 3 different types of recreational activities every year in order to spend pleasant moments, strengthen bonds and cultivate memorable memories with the team beyond the daily routines. Since we work remotely or in a hybrid model, these gatherings allow us to get closer and celebrate our achievements in person.
Leaders' Retreat: Twice a year, founders and leaders from all areas meet for a weekend in a city in the province of Buenos Aires to exchange experiences, learnings, share their difficulties and seek common solutions. During their stay, they carry out outdoor activities and workshops to reinforce values and deal with specific issues. They share the company's goals and set guidelines for the coming semester. If you want to know more about this activity click here.
XOOR Anniversary: Every July 15th we celebrate a new year of the company. It gives us an excellent opportunity to get together, enjoy ourselves, share laughter and games. We also recognize our annual achievements and have the chance to give a hug to those who we chat with every day, but don't see face to face. It is usually a picnic day, eating delicious food and participating in team games.
Year-end party: We throw a big bash every December! We share a dinner with the whole team, have a lot of fun and make a toast for the achievements obtained, encouraging us to double down on our efforts for next year. It is usually a semi-formal event, including entertainment, a time for dancing, games, raffles and prizes. We also recognize exceptional performance and achievements within our company, giving awards to some outstanding individuals.
To make sure that all the guests can attend these events, XOOR provides transport either by long distance bus or airplane, or fuel for those who drive their own vehicles. In addition, the company grants half a day off so that people can move from one city to another (in case of being far away, a full day). All costs for accommodation, meals, and recreational activities are also covered.
It is possible to hold face-to-face meetings for educational, work-related or recreational purposes. The type of event to be held will depend on the objectives of the business and the issues that you wish to tackle.
For example, if the company notices that the team is particularly interested in updating their knowledge, learning new tools or exploring a topic in depth, they could consider organizing seminars, workshops or even conferences.
If, on the other hand, there are difficulties in communication and/or organization of the projects to be developed, co-working can be really helpful. It is very important to determine deadlines to fulfill specific tasks in order to make the most effective use of time and not to spend hours with conversations that do not lead to any resolution.
If the problems have to do with promoting a sense of belonging, teamwork, and emotional commitment among colleagues, the best option is to have face-to-face recreational gatherings such as parties, picnics, sports tournaments, excursions, or festivals.
Organization is key in any type of event, whether it is a short meeting with a few people, a weekend retreat with the whole team, or a multitudinous conference. Below you will find 10 steps to achieve a successful face-to-face meeting:
Define the special event to be celebrated, or the problem to be solved (anniversaries, end of the year, teamwork problems, communication difficulties, etc.).
Set the objective of the event and indicators that will later help define its "success" (celebrating a productive year with the team, fostering camaraderie).
Depending on the goal, choose the type of meeting to be held (party, picnic, extreme activities, etc.), specify a date, a city and how much money will be assigned.
Decide on the location for the event (hall, camping, hotel, etc.). This item and the previous one are crucial to proceed with the organization. Without a place and date you cannot request other budgets, schedule activities, or start the call for participants.
Plan the activities and the gastronomical proposal. Create a roadmap specifying the times for activities (workshops, games, talks), meals, shows and games (if applicable).
Contact supplier companies to request quotes for activities and culinary options of item 5, establishing the conditions of each one, rules, limitations, and timing.
Make a list of must-have materials for all activities. This includes everything from power strips and projectors to papers and pens. Make sure that everything is available and in good condition!
Communicate the details of the event clearly and in advance, without any ambiguity. The sooner you do this, the more likely everyone will be able to plan and attend. However, ensure that the date and venue are confirmed before sharing the information. Emphasize the importance of their attendance to the company and express enthusiasm for the event to encourage interest.
Create a backup plan. No matter how well-organized, planned, and anticipated everything may be, unexpected issues can always arise, so it's advisable to have a contingency plan. This involves having additional activities available, contact information for backup suppliers, knowledge of nearby restaurants, and so on.
Enjoy the event and ask for feedback! Once the day arrives, if you've completed all the previous steps, you won't have to worry about anything else; just stick to the schedule and have fun. However, after the event, be sure to send a feedback form to the attendees and learn from it. This way, in the future, you can replicate what went well and address what didn't work.
To ensure that recreational face-to-face meetings work, the first step is to establish clear objectives. Without a measuring unit, it becomes impossible to determine if we achieved positive results. Similarly, using indicators allows for the quantification of the situation before and after the meeting.
By doing so, you can distinguish between the satisfaction of those who attended the event and the actual results of the activity. In other words, to determine whether an event was successful, you can consider if the team had a good time and would participate again. However, it's much more crucial to evaluate whether the established objectives have been achieved. For instance, did the attendees internalize the company's values? Did their collaborative work improve? Did they adopt specific tools?
Secondly, there has to be a correlation between your objectives and the activities planned for the event. For instance, if your goal is to foster teamwork and build camaraderie, a training on software development may not be the best fit. Choosing activities that align with your objectives enhances the chances of achieving the desired outcomes.
The third dimension to consider is persistence. When aiming to achieve complex objectives such as developing soft skills, which cannot be learned through mathematical exercises, it is essential to conduct activities regularly and refresh them every time a new member joins the team. Building camaraderie and fostering a sense of belonging among employees is an ongoing effort that requires continuous nurturing. A single event or meeting may not be sufficient in this regard.
Finally, there are no magic recipes! No matter how long and how carefully you have organized the event, nothing can guarantee that it will be 100% successful. And even more important: not all formulas work for all events, nor for all companies. So it will be key to systematize the information: what did you do and which were the results, what went wrong, what went very well, which supplier companies satisfied and which did not, in order to know if you are on the right track or if you need to correct the course.