Non-scheduled time during a retreat is just as important as the official agenda

With the return to in-person meetings well underway, and lackluster, back-to-back-presentation formats a thing of the past, meeting planners recognize that curated experiences and free time during a corporate retreat are as important as the official business content on the agenda. Allowing for time to reflect on new information and connect with peers, in an informal environment, fosters learning, creativity and team building.

To service a burgeoning remote workforce, successful companies are encouraging their teams to meet in person, when possible, with the addition of investments in offsite retreats and meetings. There is a growing population of remote teams, that have grown over the last two years, without the opportunity to connect in person.  During a corporate retreat, unstructured time during the day or offsite activities give team members the chance to bond and strengthen connections.

An agenda with built-in free time allows colleagues to develop relationships that they can’t establish over Zoom. “If it’s going to be more than one day, it’s beneficial that meeting planners build a little leisure activity into the days to keep productivity at its peak” says BizSuccess President, Gary Lockwood. “Building in some free time allows for learning, retention, and spirit.”

Selling Power Magazine writes that like remote teams, “68 percent of executives believe that leisure or free time at meetings is vital… because they can build relationships with colleagues in ways that they can’t when they are back at the office”, or in their remote environments.

In a recent PCMA, article, Sean Hoff, Founder and Managing Partner of event planning agency Moniker, shared that “The unstructured time, where it’s more about freeing up everybody to mingle and hang out with everybody else, builds up those bridges and connections with different people you’re not spending your day-to-day with on Slack.”

Mindfully creating white space in the agenda can result in unexpected collaborations and problem-solving. “The reality is people still end up talking about work and thinking through problems that they’re facing, but it’s more unstructured,” Hoff said. “And some of the best ideas come out of that time.”

If you’re ready to prioritize your people and provide the space and place to cultivate inspiration, creativity and connection, Stone Cottage is designed to foster reflection, refine focus and align leadership. Our world-class team delivers professional facilitation customized to meet your organization’s specific goals and needs in a secluded and intimate setting.

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