For seven hours today, I was a world away from the confines of my home office. The occasion was the annual "staff retreat" for my part time telecommuting position. Since I don't work in the office with the rest of the staff, today's off site getaway was a good opportunity to reconnect and refresh our ties as a team. I keep in close contact by phone and email, but it's great to occasionally gather together in person to focus on team building and communal goals.
A few thoughts from the perspective of an attendee for anyone planning a staff retreat:
>Location, location, location – If possible, go off site to minimize staff ducking into offices to "just check email for a minute".
>Timing – Start and end promptly and schedule sufficient break time. Do not overbook the alloted time. Be respectful of attendees' time!
>Choose speakers wisely – If you will be using a keynote, select and individual capable of engaging the group, not simply lecturing at them. Better yet, let your own star staff members shine by highlighting them as speakers.
>Focus on group interaction – If the goal of your retreat is to team-build, allow ample time for small group interaction. This was by far the most productive part of my day today.
>Silence is golden – Allow attendees at least twenty minutes of private time for silent contemplation, personal goal setting, reflection and planning.
>It doesn't have to be a big deal – Don't let time constraints or expense deter you from going away on retreat. Much can be accomplished with four uninterrupted hours and a potluck lunch!
Home-work for Today:
- Whether you're a small business owner or a stay at home mom, make arrangements today to take a half day "retreat" some time in the next month.
Reading Room Resources:
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