Why a Work Re­treat Re­al­ly Works

In my former life as a writ­er for a well-known glob­al mag­azine, we were of­ten sent away on week­long overseas work re­treats. Once there, we worked from 8 in the morn­ing un­til 6 in the even­ing … and boy did we work hard; much hard­er, in fact, than we did back in the of­fice. We brain­s­tormed, wrote and de­signed more in five days than we could ev­er have achieved in five weeks back home. Yet, no one ev­er com­plained and ev­ery year we ea­ger­ly vol­un­teered our­selves again; cla­m­our­ing to be on the re­treat list. So what was the mag­azine’s se­cret to work re­treat suc­cess?

A work re­treat al­ters the way your brain thinks

It doesn’t mat­ter how big or small your com­pany is, a change of scen­ery will reen­er­gise and in­spire your team in ways that you may nev­er have imagined.
The or­gan­i­sa­tion I worked for knew that chang­ing ci­ty walls for fields and moun­tains (or vice ver­sa) awak­ens your sens­es. Avoid­ing busy towns and ci­ties in favour of more ru­ral lo­ca­tions is not on­ly cheap­er, but of­fers plen­ty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to get your em­ploy­ees out of their com­fort zones. Such changes trig­ger your brain to make con­nec­tions it nor­mal­ly wouldn’t make, al­low­ing you to think out­side the box – a cru­cial tool for suc­cess.

Piscine, deux dames, reunion

Gett­ing to know you … gett­ing to know all about you!

Gett­ing away from the usu­al of­fice grind gives you the op­por­tu­ni­ty to get to know your co work­ers like nev­er be­fore. Dis­cov­er­ing that your usu­al­ly un­flap­pable boss is ter­ri­fied of fly­ing … that your staid cre­a­tive di­rec­tor is a fear­less karaoke singer … or that your seem­ing­ly in­tro­vert­ed col­league speaks flu­ent French (Man­darin and Ur­du) makes him or her seem less in­timi­dat­ing and more ac­ces­si­ble, which is vi­tal for good team work and ca­ma­raderie. Such work re­treats im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tion, in­crease pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and ul­ti­mate­ly strengthen bot­tom line re­sults.

Cor­po­rate re­treat sche­d­ules and ob­jec­tives (yawn)
Those dread­ed words! How­ev­er, be­ing pre­scrip­tive with your over­all ob­jec­tive en­ables your team to fo­cus, fo­cus, fo­cus. Do you want to share some wishy-washy changes to the com­pany pol­i­cy? Or do you want to pro­duce a pow­er­ful new di­rect mail cam­paign from scratch? En­sure your re­treat is de­signed to help you achieve some­thing tan­gi­ble and ac­tion­able once back in the of­fice.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion and trav­el
While it might seem ap­peal­ing to trav­el to a five-star ho­tel that’s miles off the beat­en track, it’s vi­tal to re­mem­ber that how you get to the lo­ca­tion is as im­por­tant as the lo­ca­tion it­self. It al­ways helps if your ac­com­mo­da­tion is near a ma­jor air­port and within a short drive. Other things to bear in mind are: af­ford­a­bil­i­ty, ac­tiv­i­ty op­tions, cli­mate and con­nec­tiv­i­ty.

The Clos Mira­bel Es­tate, in the heart of South-West France has host­ed sev­er­al suc­cess­ful cor­po­rate work events in­clud­ing con­fer­ences, resi­den­tial train­ing cours­es and AGMs. It boasts breath­tak­ing views of the Pyrénées as well as out­s­tand­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for raft­ing, golf­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, walk­ing, wine tast­ing and more. On­ly 20/30 min­utes from Pau/Lour­des air­ports re­spec­tive­ly, and ca­ter­ing for up to 40 peo­ple, it’s an ide­al choice for meet­ings, sem­i­nars or work re­treats. Clients in­clude To­­tal, Tere­­ga, Ar­­gos, Bay­er, Cred­it Agri­­cole, Eu­­ralis, Safran, Grou­­pa­­ma, and Ex­­co.


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