An away day is a fantastic way to encourage your team to take a different point of view. When working in the same location every day, habits can form and these habits can guide the way you and your team think.
It’s no wonder that the concept of an ‘away day’ has grown in popularity over recent years. Just look at the growth in the use of the term ‘away day’ when using Google’s book search engine; Ngram:
So the question is, ‘how do I plan a team away day?’ Luckily, we’re here with a few away day ideas.
What’s the purpose of your away day?
The first thing to work out is the purpose of your away day. Away days take up time and they cost money, so having a clear objective in mind helps to ensure that whatever you plan for your away day, you’re much more likely to make it a success.
Here are some of the most common reasons for running an away day:
Preparing a business strategy
Overcoming a challenging ‘thinking problem’
Defining / communicating your company’s vision and mission
To socialise with your team
To bond your team through team building initiatives
As you can see, the reasons for investing in an away day vary, some have a serious outcome (like preparing a new business strategy), others are a reward for hard work (a celebration). The one thing any away day has in common; your team should be given the chance to act, think and interact in ways that being in their usual place of work does not allow.
Get your away day purpose right, it makes planning the rest of it much easier.
Location ideas for your away day
If you are looking to run an ‘away day’, chances are your usual place of work is in an office. Offices tend to be in built-up areas such as major cities. Even if your office is surrounded by countryside, they are still rooms filled with desks, computer screens and printers. Your ‘away day’ needs to do as the name suggests; give you a chance to get away.
The essential rule for any business or strategy away day is to go offsite. Leave your usual place of work, not just the office but the general location. Don’t make your team take the same commute to reach the away day as they would to reach their place of work. Emphasise the fact that the away day is supposed to feel different.
At The Great Barn, we specialise in providing true escapism, offering our clients the chance to spend a day in the country. Something like this is well worth considering, nothing beats the benefits of being in the great outdoors, getting some fresh air and taking part in some unique activities.
Planning an agenda for your business away day
Your agenda will depend on what you are hoping to get from the day, so here are a few team away day agenda ideas, to suit most occasions:
Business strategy away day agenda idea
When taking time out to plan a new strategy, you need to make sure you factor in time for formal discussion alongside relaxed ‘play’. The mix of pace will help your team to think in different ways throughout the day and could lead to better strategic thinking.
At The Great Barn, we offer something we call the ‘conference and activity day’ and it involves splitting your day into two parts; the first part is a formal conference / meeting style session, where the onsite conference room can be used for having an official meeting and discussion.
Following a break for lunch, guests can then unwind by partaking in a number of unique activities. Activities could include clay shooting, hovercraft driving or duck herding! Take a look at our outdoor activities page to see the types of things that are on offer.
Running a day like this is a great way to set the scene for the strategic challenge in a formal setting, before setting your team free to have some creative fun. It’s an incredibly effective way to reach a solution to a strategic problem without having to force it.
Take a look at the sample itinerary for the conference and activity day here.
Team building away day idea
Another common reason for planning an away day is to provide some team building activities. It’s a great way to bring your team together, get them out of the challenges of their day-to-day work and encourage them to get to know and trust each other in a different setting.
Like the strategy away day above, this idea involves splitting your day in two. Part one will involve you and your team assembling in the conference room for the morning’s meeting. It’s a chance to welcome your team to the day, explain what they should get from the day and set the tone for the day ahead.
Following lunch your team will begin the afternoon activities. These activities can be centred on the theme of team building. One such activity that has always proven popular at The Great Barn is the Crystal Challenge.
Based on the TV series, The Crystal Maze, teams take part in a series of challenges, working together to progress to the final challenge, where they must collect as many tokens as possible.
Days like this are a great way to see your team working together in ways that being in the office just won’t allow. Take a look at our sample conference and team building day here.
Planning a team away day as a celebration
If your team away day is intended to be a celebration, then why not forego the formal conference room meeting and dive straight into some activities?
A celebration day should be all about fun. If you are taking a large team, there’s a strong chance that each person’s idea of fun will differ slightly, so it pays to offer a few different types of activities, meaning that each person can celebrate in a way they are comfortable with.
At The Great Barn, we often work with our visitors to plan a day that appeals to a wide range of people, and can include some of the following activities:
For thrill seekers, hovercraft driving or rage buggy driving offer up the unique chance to tear around in a vehicle you’re unlikely to get the chance to drive very often - it’s a fantastic way to deliver an adrenaline hit for the thrill seekers on your team!
For those who love a bit of healthy competition, we usually plan in some clay shooting and / or archery. Following a safety and guidance briefing form experts, your team can compete to see who’s the best shot.
For a slower paced celebration, why not try your hand at Falconry? Our experts will give a demonstration and hands on experience of this ancient craft before guests handle and fly different birds such as Eagle Owls and Harris Hawks.
Want to see a complete list of what you can do? Here's the full list of our away day activities.
So there you have it, a few unique ideas to make the most of a business away day. Take care to choose the purpose, location and activities for your away day and it’s sure to be a success and wise investment.