Whether you want to re-energise disengaged staff or initiate some good, old-fashioned team bonding, away days can be a brilliant way of hitting a whole of host of internal communications objectives.
But it’s important to note that they’re not just about fun, games and team banter; they can also improve efficiency, drive change and help you communicate important messages. While the naysayers might remark that there are no tangible benefits to a day spent out of the office, we know from experience that if you plan well, you can achieve great things. It’s all about ensuring there’s:
- An agenda
- A creative element
- An overarching strategic objective
According to the Institute of Internal Communication (IOIC), away days form part of a company’s culture and are crucial to influencing the way your team acts, operates and thinks. And at Southerly, they’ve become both part of our company culture and a vital tool for improving employee engagement, boosting morale and ensuring everyone feels part of the Southerly (and now Spoon) journey.
Also, internal communications are vital to a company’s success as they connect your workforce with the business, making them feel appreciated and also part of your company’s journey, good and bad – and that’s where away days can play an important role.
So, here are six reasons why you should consider incorporating an away day into your internal communications strategy:
Away days are great for face-to-face communication
As well as putting everyone on the same level-playing field, away days give your team a chance to break away from emails, Slack and Google Chat and engage in some traditional face-to-face conversation. Revolutionary! This can be great for team bonding, particularly if you work in a larger organisation where teams are divided by function and don’t tend to communicate on a daily basis.
They’ll help you get the best out of your workforce
Take advantage of the fact that your team feel relaxed and happy to tackle some of the things you struggle to accomplish in the office – ideas for attracting new business or concepts for an upcoming rebrand, for example.
They’ll give you room to plan and set objectives
Most businesses find it difficult to find time to sit back and reflect, and an away day can be a great way to plan and set objectives for the year ahead. The leadership team can also use the time to share goals and future plans with the rest of the team. At Southerly, we did exactly that at our Strategy Day earlier this year!
They can be a great time to deliver feedback
Away days can be casual and fairly informal, so are often a great setting for providing and receiving feedback.
They’re an opportunity to share best practice
Lunch and learns are a great way to encourage knowledge sharing and ensure vital nuggets of information don’t sit in isolated parts of the business. But if you struggle to find the time for a monthly meeting, make sure you dedicate part of the away day agenda to best practice sharing.
They give you the time and space to unleash your creativity
And finally, don’t forget to encourage note-taking as the away day unfolds so you’re able to move ideas forward when you return to the office. Too often information shared during away days is lost following the event itself.