Making the Most Out of Your Off-Site Meeting

Finding an amazing off-site conference space can be the first step to more effective meetings and engaged employees. But even though finding the right site is fundamental, it’s up to the managers and group leaders to tap into the potential of a particular location. By taking the time to consider all the angles, however, an off-site meeting or corporate retreat can be a great opportunity to ditch the mundane while still holding a productive session. For anyone ready to get their group out of the office, considering these tips can get you on the path to making your staff’s month thanks to the perfect meeting.   

Know the parking and geography of the area.

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A clumsily handled transport to or from your site can quickly dull the impact of your meeting. Finding a site operated by locals who know the parking and transportation is ideal, but a few minutes searching about the area should help you easily avoid some headaches on conference day. Just by looking at the site and the surrounding geography on Google Maps can even give you a great sense of how to maximize the area’s potential during breaks and activities.

If you’re going to head to a meal, it can also be a good idea to check for local deals or rewards programs tied to either Uber or Lyft. This can not only eliminate any parking hassles but can keep your excursion green by carpooling, not to mention save a few bucks for the group. It’s also not a bad idea to promote as little employee driving as possible, particularly following extended lunches or happy hours.

Send out a digital itinerary beforehand.

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A fun surprise can spice up a meeting in a hurry, but there’s no need to go overboard by leaving an off-site conference shrouded in mystery. Sending a simple digital itinerary – with some detail, if possible – can get everyone on the same page before even walking through the door. Even though not every minute has to be accounted for and set in stone, employees generally appreciate knowing ahead of time what they’re in for.

If you’re off-site, it will also be very handy for everyone to get a chance to look at the location ahead of time, making it even easier for everyone to get out and about. A decent itinerary can encourage more active participation in the process as well, which is always appreciated by the planners within the group. Employees, particularly those with families, will also be much more likely to stick around for a team bonding opportunity if they know beforehand there will be an after-hours get-together.  

Have a food plan.

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Some groups love to do everything on the fly, but that can be a risky proposition if you’re setting up an off-site meeting. Just like with parking and local transportation, getting a beat on the area’s restaurants shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes, but savvy managers and coordinators tend to dig a little deeper and find the go-to options in the area.

More importantly, finding the right type of food is key, as the last thing you want is heavy food weighing down the bodies and minds of employees in the afternoon. Having copious amounts of coffee on hand also tends to be appreciated by employees, particularly when you add some (healthy) baked goods from a local hot spot.

Switch it up and take breaks.

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For many companies, the whole point of doing an off-site conference or corporate retreat is to shake things up a bit. That’s why it’s a terrific opportunity to introduce some new features to your meeting, especially if you pick a site that has outdoor activities nearby to take advantage of. Many managers even like to find a quiet outdoor space nearby to hold a portion of the conference, as spending even a half-hour away from the office setting can lighten the mood while still encouraging productivity. Plenty of companies love to do scavenger hunts and outdoor games as well, but a stroll by the water or outdoor picnic lunch can be every bit as effective at building team morale. If you’re going to take the time to setup a conference away from the office, having a meeting your employees actually remember can be a great incentive to go off-site on a regular basis.

Don’t forget about these possibilities for your conference:

  • The furniture matters, so check ahead with your site operator to make sure the furniture is going to work for your group. The last thing you want is furniture that’s less comfortable than the office.
  • Incorporating music can be both fun and functional, which is why you might want to make sure your site can – at minimum – handle the basics. Not only can you use music to signal arrival/departure/breaks but you can let some deserving employees pick the tunes.
  • Keep sakes. Hand an employee a new mug filled with coffee and you’re already off to a good start. Other easy options include water bottle
  • ·Make sure the space is a good fit. The best conference room rentals come with features like white board walls, allowing for easy participation from your group and giving you another reason to ditch paperwork.

For info on San Diego corporate meeting space, our locally based staff can give you all the details you need to get your offsite conference started.