The Office Away Day

3 Mins

When you see an email entitled “Company Away Day” what is your first thought?

“Yay, a fun day out of the office!”

 or “Please, no, don’t do this to me again!”

The office away day is supposed to be that time to get to know people better and see everyone in a more relaxed environment. Some use it as a chance to get a fresh perspective on those company goals. It can also be a chance for individuals to network and give a good impression to the right people.

But away days don’t always work like that. 

Suddenly, that quiet new kid reveals themselves to be a paintballing tyrant demanding complete submission. Your team leader is unwilling to get their new shoes dirty. Your colleague has gone rogue and committed themselves fully to wilderness life. And that person from HR has cake! Our advice, stick close to the cake.

It’s fair to say that, like school sports day, office away days don’t appeal to everyone. But there’s plenty companies can do to make them better. Afterall, a day out of the office is not fun if all you’re doing is worrying about the work piling up in your absence.

Firstly, it’s important to have a clear objective. Throwing people into a random activity and hoping something good will happen isn’t the best plan.

Are activities about simply switching off from work? Is it about creating relevant challenges that involve planning? Challenging thinking? Is there someone who will manage the process and help encourage participation?

And secondly, leaders need to act on the work suggestions, new connections and feedback from the day once you’re back in the office.

Sometimes, a nice meal out with the team is better than forcing people to build a boat in freezing river water.

Written by Jason Connolly