The words ‘away day’ might conjure up images of go-karting with your boss and endless presentations. But if you ditch the corporate jargon and organised fun, away days can be a great way to add value to your business and get the very best out of your team.
From helping you to generate new ideas to preparing your team for a big project on the horizon, a re-energizing away day can benefit creative teams and startups just as much as big companies. Inspired by our team trip to WeWork London Fields, we’re sharing our tips for getting the most out of stealing a few hours away from the office.
Why are you having your away day in the first place?
Whether you're planning an afternoon out of the office or a residential weekend, it's important that your whole team understand why it’s happening. A clear sense of shared purpose can help to keep timings on track and help everyone to feel valued.
We like to work collaboratively and kept the day’s agenda up on the wall for everyone to see in the weeks coming up to the big day. Each team member was responsible for a leading a section, seeing this beforehand helped us all to feel prepared and involved.
What will you actually do on the day?
Setting out your goals early means you can tailor the day’s activities your needs. New team members? Keep some time free to fill out ‘about me’ sheets (we used these ones from Strategic design director Cassie Robinson). Want to review your processes? Prep post-it notes in advance for a retro.
The whole team should have an input in deciding activities. We researched ideas and only selected ones that felt like us. One of the funniest points of our day was listing our favourite #OverheardAtCrocstar moments as part of a ‘memory wall’ – one of the activities we discovered online.
Most importantly, your away day should reflect the way you work. For us that meant 3,256 post-it notes, a relaxed atmosphere (beer) and making time to fit in agile ceremonies such as a retro on our systems (just so you know, we did our agile training with Richard Joseph – he’s great).
How will you make sure your away day results in actions?
With so many ideas and decisions coming out of an away day, it's easy for them to end up forgotten once you’re back in the office with a ringing phone and an overflowing inbox.
During the day, we kept track of ideas and suggestions by avoiding copious note taking. Instead, we typed up short concise statements which we ran through again at the end of the day to make sure we all agreed. We also snapped some photos of our whiteboard notes and post-its, so that we could use them to type up our ideas in more detail during the week.
Back in the office, we shared the list in Slack so that everyone had visibility. Some actions we’ve been able to tackle straightaway (this is incredibly meta but writing a blog post about our away day experience was on the list) while others have been turned into Trello cards with the relevant team members assigned.
Where are you heading on your next away day?
Let us know what you’re planning to get up to and the reason for your team trip on LinkedIn and we’ll share a personalised tip with you.