Following the financial crisis in 2008 the corporate away day began to slowly decline in popularity. As budgets were cut in both the public and private sector, and companies began to tighten their belts, the frequency and size of corporate out-of-office events suffered for a number of reasons.
Firstly,in periods of economic decline travel and entertainment budgets are often the first to be cut, particularly when management is under pressure to tighten the purse strings. Moreover, many firms – and in particular those in the finance or the public sector – were keen not to be seen acting extravagantly or rewarding staff when redundancies and cuts were being implemented across the country.
Fortunately, over the past eighteen months directors, HR departments and senior management have begun to recall the tremendous benefits that corporate away days can bring. Coupled with an increasingly positive economic outlook this has lead to such events being planted firmly back on the map – which is brilliant news for employers and employees across the country.
This is because the benefits of corporate away days are numerous and far reaching. The events are about far more than simply giving employees a break from work. What is more, they are as cost effective and affordable as ever.
The rise of official networks within companies has also sparked an increase in away days. Groups like Women in Business, sports societies and other similar inclusive networks are all experiencing the advantages corporate away days can offer. Such groups use the time out of the office to discuss their agendas and policies, team build and get to know one-another in a less restrictive environment.
Activity filled days are perfect for boosting morale, breaking down barriers and giving employees a chance to network with their co-workers. Exciting companies across the country are offering everything from sports days to zombie experiences to give staff the chance to let their hair down, exercise and de-stress away from work.
The best days incorporate something for everyone, and don’t exclude people who are perhaps less inclined to get involved with a certain activity. This means organisers must consider whether activities are truly inclusive, which involves taking into account the needs and wants of the group of people who are to be in attendance. Management are ultimately responsible for their staff and should pick an event that matches their employees requirements accordingly.
Another style of day particularly popular with employees and employers alike is one that simply gives attendees the opportunity to relax. As long as staff are aware that they are not under examination and are expected to do no more than enjoy the time out of the office, such days are brilliant for boosting office morale. Again, they should be inclusive and appeal to everyone’s sense of ‘relaxation’. Not everyone finds a 12 hour hike relaxing!
Team building is often the aim quoted by management when organising a trip away from the office, but as you can see the possibilities are far wider than that. It is worth noting however, that team building events can actually be incredibly valuable as long as they are carefully thought out and implemented. As mentioned, inclusivity is essential but it is important to leave staff to get involved at their own pace and leisure. Being forced to participate will ultimately leave staff feeling put out and it is always worth remembering that not every member of the team will be best friends.
Idea generation, brainstorming or planning days can also be extremely effective when held out of the office. Taking staff out of the usual office environment encourages the creative juices to flow by de-cluttering minds of business as usual tasks and other distractions that come as part of working in an office. The change of scenery also encourages those who might not usually think of themselves as a creative type or a natural problem solver to think differently and contribute positively to group discussions or design tasks. This is beneficial to the team and the individual, both on the day and once they return to the office.
So what are you waiting for? Fantastic away day packages are being offered by companies across the country at great prices! The return of the corporate away day is upon us – don’t miss out!