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Thinking about booking an away day but prevaricating? Here’s what you need to know!

What’s an away day?

Away days are basically team-building events held outside of the workplace. They can take the form of presentations, seminars and brainstorming sessions, and often part of the day involves activities that encourage team work and problem solving.

What’s the point?

By taking your team out of their usual environment, you are giving them the chance to get to know each other in a different way, strengthen relationships and communicate better. An away day can also improve motivation and encourage creativity. Being away can help people to look at things differently and have new ideas and innovations. It’s also a chance for your team to have fun – something that cannot be underestimated.

All this is brought back into the workplace and can have long lasting benefits.

Is there a benefit for my remote working team?

Since the pandemic remote and hybrid working has become much more normal. The consequences of this can be far reaching particularly for junior or new team members who may not have met some of their colleagues and who may feel isolated. Even hybrid workers who do come into the office do so on certain days and always see the same people, missing the chance to connect with others.

An away day gives them the chance to engage with each other, put a face to a name and feel they are part of a team.

How might an away day look?

At Escot, we often find that an away day that combines part of the day indoors with another part filled with activities works well for clients.

So team members arrive and have a relaxed coffee, then a session which is usually a presentation to kick the day off and introduce a theme or topics. Break outs are popular, where different groups discuss problems or ideas. This is a great chance to put people together who don’t normally interact due to different work roles.

After lunch everyone can take part in activities. These can be physically active or mentally stimulating – you will know what type of activity will suit your team best, and we will put together a programme to suit.

What sort of activities are available?

Escot is fortunate to have a fantastic range of activities available on site with our activity partners Devon Country Pursuits.

Team building: Minefield and land raft are designed to encourage working together.  

Action: Adrenaline boosting activities such as go karts and quad bikes, with more gentle options including Segway.

Challenging: Paintball, laser tag, and the unusual option of night laser – in the dark!

Sporty: Clay shooting, archery, air rifles, foot golf.

Mentally stimulating: Interactive treasure hunt.

Pure fun: Axe throwing (throw an axe at the boss!) and a wet and muddy assault course.  

We’re hoping to add indoor options to the list soon, so you can enjoy away day activities whatever the weather.

How do I make the most of the away day?

Plan the day carefully. Firstly think about what you want to get out of the day. Is there something in particular you want your team to think about, a solution needed for a problem, a plan for the next stage of the business – or is this purely to give them the chance to get to know each other and have some fun.

Participation of everyone is crucial, so make sure that the activities you have in mind suit your workforce. Will they mind getting wet or muddy, would they prefer an activity such as the rifle range to crawling under a net?

Give the day some structure so your team have an idea of what to expect. Give them the dress code – if they’re taking part in muddy activities tell them to bring the appropriate clothing to change into.

Mix people up – often they will want to stay with their work friends, but this is a great time to encourage new relationships to be built.

Organise some surprises. Perhaps a fun quiz based with amusing prizes.

What will I achieve from an away day?

At the very least your team will get to know each other better. They may develop some extra skills and find out that they are good at things they’ve never tried before, giving them additional confidence.

An away day is also a chance for you to look at individuals differently, see their strengths – and even spot potential.

Giving people space to think and debate can result in new ideas for your business, better ways of working, even solving an issue that has been a problem for years. Remember to use a flipchart or ask someone to take notes so you can have a record of what’s been discussed.

Use feedback from the day and send a summary out to everyone who came along. Include photos of the fun activities – this is a great reminder of the day. 

What’s the most important thing?

In all honesty, an away day shouldn’t be focused on work. It should be fun for everyone.  

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