Organizational Wellness

Ten Staff Retreat Ideas to Boost Wellbeing and Connection

Aug 9, 2023
Last Updated Aug 9, 2023

As an HR professional, you know that corporate retreats are a fantastic way to promote work-life wellness and strengthen relationships within the workplace. However, planning a retreat experience that is memorable and impactful can be quite challenging. One way to leave a lasting impression on your employees is to offer engaging team-building activities that foster a positive work environment beyond the retreat itself.

Here are ten company retreat ideas designed to boost wellbeing and connection among your team members. These ideas will provide a much-needed break from the daily grind and inspire creativity, improve communication, and help prevent burnout.

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  1. Get to Know Each Other with Icebreaker Games

Icebreaker games are an essential part of any team-building exercise and are a great activity to kick-off a company retreat. They allow colleagues to take a break from their regular work routine and get to know each other more personally. 

There are lots of popular icebreaker games, including Two Truths and a Lie, Employee Bingo, and Would You Rather? Each game has its own purpose and is ideal for certain situations. For example, Employee Bingo helps participants learn about each other's lives outside of work, while Two Truths and a Lie encourages people to share interesting facts about themselves.

  1. Step Up Your Game in the Kitchen with a Cooking Class

Cooking classes are a fantastic way to bring people together over a sharedlove of food, and they can be tailored to suit all tastes and dietary needs. You have a few options for hosting cooking classes. You could hire a professional chef or cooking instructor to come in and lead the class at your workplace, or you could send employees to a specialty cooking class.

For remote teams hosting a virtual retreat, online cooking classes are available via video conference. The extra benefit of this is employees can cook in their home kitchens during the demo for a group lunch at the end! To make the experience more personal, employees can share their favorite recipes, ingredients, or cooking tips beforehand. This fosters team bonding while also allowing employees to learn more about each other.

  1. Tap Into Your Inner Survivor with Escape Rooms

If you're looking for a staff retreat idea to get your team working together and thinking outside the box, escape rooms might be just the thing! This trending experience is an interactive puzzle game where teams find clues and solve riddles to "escape" the room (or a set of connected rooms) before time runs out.

Escape rooms are a great way to encourage problem-solving and teamwork skills in a fun and unique environment outside the conference room. Some existing escape rooms have themes like "Escape from Alcatraz," where teams solve puzzles to break out of a replica prison cell, or "The Mummy's Tomb," where teams must find clues to unlock the pharaoh's treasure. For remote workers, companies likeMystery Escape Room and The Escape Game offer virtual rooms that can be accessed from anywhere.

  1. Get Searching with a Scavenger Hunt

Organizing a scavenger hunt is another great way to get your staff offsite, working together to chase after clues. It also allows people to explore in a playful way, which can bring out a side of co-workers people don’t often get to see. 

You can set up the scavenger hunt in an outdoor space, such as a park, or across an entire neighborhood. Teams can be as small as two people, or you can have entire departments seeing who can hunt down a list of items first. To make it even more exciting, consider adding challenges along the way that require teams to complete tasks or answer questions. At the end of the hunt, reward the winning team members with prizes! 

  1. Play Classic Board Games

Board games are a tried and true classic way for people to unwind while instilling a little friendly competition. If you decide to host a game night as part of your work retreat, consider offering a variety of board games that appeal to all types of players. Popular choices include Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, and Settlers of Catan. Besides being a fun bonding experience, board games can also help improve cognitive abilities like strategic thinking and problem-solving.

To get in the spirit, set up a tournament of teams competing against each other throughout the night and awarding prizes to the winners of each game. For remote work, virtual options like Tabletop Simulator or BoardGameArena allow players to interact with each other while still enjoying classic board games.

  1. Sing Your Hearts Out at Karaoke

Singing your heart out in front of your coworkers might seem intimidating initially, but it can be a great way to build camaraderie as people face this challenge together. Participating in karaoke can help people practice facing theirfear of public speaking, a skill that can be transferred to their professional lives. 

If you're hosting a multi-day staff retreat, this is especially great for a fun evening activity. It's also a chance for people to showcase hidden talents — or just laugh with colleagues! Many karaoke bars or venues even offer private rooms, which can create a more intimate and relaxed atmosphere for the group.

  1. Set Sail on a Kayaking or Canoeing Adventure

Kayaking or canoeing is a great way to get outdoors, enjoy fresh air, and exercise during a staff retreat. Studies have shown that being in nature can reduce stress, improve mood, and increase creativity. Taking a kayaking or canoeing trip with your team is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of being in nature while having fun together.

When organizing a kayaking or canoeing trip, it's important to ensure you have the right equipment and safety measures (such as access to life jackets). Consider hiring an instructor who can provide tips on paddling techniques and safety guidelines. Additionally, if you plan on going out for more than a few hours, bring plenty of snacks and drinks so everyone stays hydrated and energized throughout the day.

  1. Show Off Your Knowledge with Trivia Games

Trivia games are an enjoyable and interactive way for employees to show off their knowledge and engage with each other about esoteric topics. Does your team love pop culture, history, or current events? You can tailor the trivia questions to topics your staff members love most.

There are many ways to organize a trivia game, from traditional pub-style team quizzes to interactive smartphone apps like QuizUp. You could even create custom categories based on your company's history, industry, or products. Trivia games can be played in person or remotely with virtual tools such as Zoom or Kahoot.

  1. Hustle it Out in Team Sports

There are many different sports to choose from, but it's important to select ones that are accessible and easy for everyone to play. One popular option is volleyball, which is a great choice because it can be played indoors or outdoors and requires minimal equipment. Other options include basketball, soccer, and dodgeball, which can be adapted to suit different skill levels.

If your team is feeling adventurous, consider trying a new sport like ultimate frisbee or flag football. The key is choosing a sport everyone can participate in and enjoy. And remember the most important part: coming up with silly team names!

  1. Book a Weekend Getaway

Spending time in a new location can be a great way to inspire creativity, boost morale, and promote wellbeing among employees. When selecting a retreat venue, it's important to consider the overall vibe and atmosphere of the location. Look for places with unique experiences or fun activities, such as hiking trails, spa treatments, or art classes.

Some popular locations for multi-day retreats include beach resorts, mountain cabins, or luxury camping sites. When creating the perfect retreat agenda, balancing work and play is important. You can schedule plenty of downtime for employees to recharge and relax but also include team-building exercises and workshops to encourage growth and development. It's also a good idea to provide a variety of activities that employees can pick and choose from based on their interests and comfort levels.

The Fun Doesn't End When the Retreat is Over

Staff retreat activities are an excellent way to prevent burnout and promote employee wellbeing. But the fun doesn't have to end when the retreat is over! By incorporating retreat-inspired activities into your employees' free time and throughout the year, you can create a company culture that values wellness and continued personal growth.

One way to make fun activities available year-round is through a wellness program, offering regular opportunities for team-building exercises, mindfulness sessions, or even organizing employee sports leagues. By nurturing a work environment that encourages balance, camaraderie, and personal development, you'll not only create a happier workforce but also improve productivity and employee retention in the long run.

At Gympass, we can help you design a program that keeps the wellness momentum going all year long. Connect with a Wellbeing Specialist to learn more today!

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Gympass Editorial Team

The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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