Want to get away from the grind?
Your team probably does, and it might do you some good, too.
Whether you want to re-energize employees, decompress from stress, or light a creative spark, away days are a brilliant way to accomplish a host of internal communications objectives. Letting your team escape the office is an easy way to improve employee engagement and build relationships, but the benefits go well beyond morale.
Here are five more reasons to make away days a regular part of your communications plan:
1. They are great for face-to-face communication.
How much of your internal communication is impersonal?
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Texting, emails, chats, intranet posts and blogs are great, but face-to-face communication is crucial for building trust, rapport and personal connections. Getting your group out of the office and into a comfortable setting will get people talking—which is the first step toward a torrent of fresh ideas.
2. They’ll help you get the best out of your workforce.
People tend to be more productive—and creative—when they’re relaxed, comfortable and happy. Why not put your team in position to succeed?
3. They’ll give you room to plan and set objectives.
Even if you’re constantly blown around by job requests, it’s essential to have a schedule. Take time with your team to craft an editorial calendar, along with your weekly, monthly and yearly objectives.
An away day is the perfect time to cast the vision for the days ahead—and potentially alter the vision based on your colleagues’ feedback and insight.
4. They’re ideal for delivering and soliciting candid feedback.
Some people just don’t feel comfortable opening up in the office. For many, the workplace is an anxiety-ridden battlefield.
If you struggle to get your team to speak candidly, schedule time in a neutral location. You’ll get better, rawer feedback.
5. They’ll help you unleash creativity.
You should set a firm agenda and shoot for the objectives you want to accomplish, but leave time for creativity. Carve out time for your team to spout off whatever ideas they have, and make sure someone is taking notes to capture them. If you have some shy souls in your group, let them write down a list of their ideas.
Of course, ideas are useless unless you do something with them, so go above and beyond to make your team’s ideas come to fruition when you get back to the office. That’s how you empower employees and reinforce how much you value them.
A version of this post first appeared on the Southerly blog.