Business // Health

How to Plan a Team Offsite That Actually Works

I recently returned from a five night stay at the Golden Door Health Retreat in New South Wale's beautiful Hunter Valley. Ironic to have a health retreat located in a region famous for its wine! Driving into the property we passed copious wineries and the fudge factory, I think this is all part of the detox challenge.

For some this was a shock to the body especially after the jovial Christmas period with some people experiencing cold like symptoms and headaches. These had subsided for most after a couple of days.

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Bouncing back into the office the following week full of happiness and positivity I had a chat to colleague John Raymond about my relaxing, rejuvenating experience. He shared an insight from his latest blog on loveyourworking.com that in some recent research on happiness and holidays, the only group that had any post-holiday happiness were the people that reported having a “very relaxing” holiday. Something to think about. I've been talking to some members in my network that had quite the opposite, stressful holiday experiences and have returned to work tired and flat.

After super healthy meals, lots of exercise, drinking bottles of water, stretching, informative seminars, spa treatments, meditation and tai chi I was left thinking what a great option for a corporate offsite/reward and recognition offering. Also as a way to thank people for their hard work and commitment. I think our facilitators deserve it at the end of their annual big years of travel! Here is a link to a typical day at the Golden Door.

Having pondered on this thought I was thrilled to see Golden Door is now offering a 3 day Corporate Wellness Program for individuals or teams of up to 16 as well as tailored versions.

Having a cup of tea with Brigid Walsh, their GM, I discovered corporates have informally been coming to the Golden Door for years, however they have only just packaged this offering. Examples have included one Melbourne based company putting a different employee a week through the program after the owners derived great personal benefit. In addition, a team from one of the top five Australia banks came for a strategy offsite. They delved into the usual Golden Door schedule in the morning and crafted time for strategy in the afternoon when they were refreshed and rejuvenated. I certainly enjoyed writing inspiration and insights for both home and work during some downtime my schedule there.

So, rather than repeating your standard company offsite which can often involve strategy, motivational speakers and lots of wine over dinner why not try something designed to create a fundamental shift in thinking and behaviour? The prices per person are very reasonable for the corporate package considering the outcomes. They would definitely fit into the majority of executive and senior leadership team offsite budgets from my experience.

Learning wise, I found the seminar topic options to integrate into corporate retreats very relevant to home and work which include 'Preparing for Change', 'Movement that Matters', 'Building Resilience', 'Food that Matters' and 'Mindfulness'.For instance, we had a conversation about standing desks during the movement that matters seminar which is very topical as many organisations shift to an agile working environment.

So what's the ROI? We all know employees are more engaged when they bring their whole selves to work and have meaningful work. What better way to engage your workforce than allowing them time to work on themselves and build relationships with others?

In the Golden Door corporate brochure it says

'The better you take care of your people and yourself, the better they will take care of the business'.

I couldn't agree more. Which type of employee would you prefer to be around?

  • Employee A - Bounces into the office energised after a morning exercise session drinking a healthy green juice. Is positive throughout the day, instigates stretch breaks, is responsive versus reactive to potentially stressful work triggers.
  • Employee B - Onto their third coffee by 10.00am, bags under their eyes from a lack of sleep having been up late attached to their mobile device. Snappy with colleagues due to high stress levels.

For me it's a no brainer, I love to be surrounded by positive, energisers who have a glass half full approach to life. I wrote about this recently in my personal blog: Positive attitude is a choice, what do you choose?

So what did I walk away with?

  • Revived and rejuvenated ready for the year ahead
  • A personal action plan to start making changes as soon as I walked out of the gated doors
  • Clarity after a digital detox, breathing in fresh country air and being surrounded by the inspiring and energising Golden Door Team.

So, a health retreat for your next offsite? Something to think about.

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Dani Matthews

Dani Matthews

Mumpreneur and lifestyle coach whose purpose is sharing learnings and insights through writing and conversation, to inspire others to action (if right for them).