It’s simple—people like fun. People want to be happy, they want to be heard, they want to feel connected to others. Hosting an offsite experience for employees gets them out of monotonous routines and into a new way of looking at one another and the work they are doing.
Whether a business requires full on-site attendance, offers flexibility to work from home, or has a fully remote staff, getting team members together outside of the normal day-to-day workstream can help strengthen connections and renew their energy and excitement for the company’s mission.
Melissa Jones, a HudCo member and Senior Director of Technical Programs at Shopify, always begins to plan a meeting by pinpointing what she wants to achieve—then developing activities with those goals in mind. Want everyone to just get comfortable with one another? Try an ice breaker where everyone has to line up in order birthday without talking. Or want to fuel inspiration? An “unconference” with no planned sessions can result in rich conversations of whatever the participants decide they want to discuss.
Melissa Jones facilitates an event for Shopify in Toronto
“Because we’re totally a remote company now, Shopify is invested a lot into what we call ‘bursts’ or really intentional offsites/retreats,” Melissa said. “We hosted one at one of our ‘ports’— an old Shopify office space that’s been converted into a retreat space. Last week one of my team members hosted a burst in Normandy at a chateau, and this week another team member hosted a burst in a super cool space in Berlin.” (PS, they’re hiring!)
As the Associate Vice President of Behavioral Health Services for Graham Windham, Beata Vilar de Queiros has hosted multiple meetings for their teams in the light-filled Atrium at HudCo. “It’s important to be together in spaces that are not the same internal meeting settings,” Beata said. “This neutral turf lends itself to establishing psychological safety more quickly.”
The Atrium at HudCo, set up for a 18-person workshop. All tables can fold and roll to form other seating arrangements. Photo by Ball & Albanese
Most recently she held a meeting for a team who mostly worked remote and didn’t have many opportunities to come together for in-person meetings. “They were able to take a break from always helping others,” said Beata. “We started with a meditation, did a writing exercise to promote reflection, and then created vision boards. Being in a space like HudCo is inspiring, calming, and cultivates team conversations that in turn drives the agenda and accomplishes the goals for the meeting or retreat.”
With such a diversity of professional backgrounds, the HudCo community itself is a valuable resource for creative experiences that can create the ideal environment for a truly inspirational gathering. Elizabeth Knell and Robin Helman, who met as two of the coworking community’s first members in 2019, joined together to create their business Go Love NY that develops bespoke experiences like walking tours, outdoor adventures, and historic and architectural home visits.
A Go Love NY tour to a farm in Hyde Park for a llama and alpaca hike and farm tour.
“We curate private small group experiences and day trips for busy coworkers that go beyond the standard team dinners or happy hours after a day of meetings. It’s so much more fun and interesting to connect with your colleagues doing something more unusual and unique,” said Elizabeth. “Sometimes we’ll have a group who wants to kayak to castle ruins as an all-day ‘field trip,’ and other times we’ll take them on a hike with alpacas after their morning brainstorm work session at HudCo.”
Some other offerings from the HudCo community to consider adding to your offsite agenda:
- Diana Bufalini and Sharon McCann-Doyle offer mat Pilates classes for all levels of experience
- Kate Sonders-Solomon has taught cooking classes for corporate clients including Pepsi, Bright Farms, Northwell Health, and Smith College
- Business coaches Julie Cottineau, Patty Franco, Dan Greenwald, Joanne Heyman, and Alex Honeysett can build custom workshops for your team
- Samantha Barr and Sylvia Lukach teach floral arranging workshops
- Becca Licht can bring in an all-levels barre3 class from her Dobbs Ferry studio
- Book a headshot session for your team with Camila Montanhani, Ana Ruggiero, Carly Jara, Arielle Joffe, or Alison Sheehy