The New Corporate Offsite
How Nature Retreats are Changing the Landscape of Corporate Offsites
Like a well structured mini-vacation, a corporate retreat location in nature allows employees to renew their enthusiasm for work and build team bonds. In a shift from the lavish executive trips of the past, today’s top companies are choosing to embark on offsites at unique retreat venues that make more sense for their bottom line – and their team’s satisfaction.
Tech giants like Google and Uber and renowned institutions such as JP Morgan and Nestle frequently utilize offsites to maintain a healthy workforce. In addition to lofts, we’ve seen a growing trend of top companies favoring retreat venues like private homes and estates. More than just a breath of fresh air, corporate retreat locations in nature maximize the long-term results of a team’s time away from the office.
According to Stanford Professor Dr. Katie Curhan, Ed.D there is evidence that just being in contact with nature can improve an employee’s sense of well-being and productivity in the office. In fact, some of the documented benefits that can come with interacting with nature directly apply to the workforce including reduced stress and better cognitive performance.
“Numerous studies suggest that activities in natural settings or exposure to natural features have important stress reduction and restoration effects. Another study found that after experiencing mental stress (e.g. the completion of a demanding cognitive task like a really hard math problem), participants who walked for forty minutes in an urban area heavily populated with trees and other vegetation reported more positive emotions and performed better on subsequent cognitive tasks than did participants who walked in a pleasant urban environment without greenery.” (Dr. Katie Curhan, Ed.D, The Power of Nature)
The results are so astounding that some companies are even going to the lengths of purchasing properties to host their own retreats. A Wall Street Journal article highlights how former Cisco executive Ed Kozel frequently hosts retreats at his private estate in Sonoma County. The secluded, beautiful, and quiet location serves to “get people out of the rat race and into an area where they can focus on team building and strategy off-site.”
While having access to an exclusive retreat location used to be reserved for top-tiered companies, it’s now possible for any team to take advantage of getting out of the office and into nature. There are many beautiful retreat venues with easy access just out of major metros. Some options might include a mountain retreat with access to hiking trails, or a beachfront condo with an spectacular ocean views.
Regardless of the destination, the time spent in nature will have employees returning to the office feeling rejuvenated. A peaceful environment removed from the bustle of a city can provide the perfect atmosphere to spark collaboration. Employees will have created a shared experience with their team that will build powerful bonds.
Although these offsites in nature are called “retreats,” these sessions provide the opportunity for the team to delve deeper into personal and professional components that will ultimately make them more successful. Rather than “check out,” a successful retreat allows them to “tune in.”