Why to do a staff retreat

Did you wonder why our offices close once a year for a staff retreat? Staff retreats provide a break from the daily responsibilities in the office and to work on the development of goals for the practice, team building, and the most important—FUN!
Our Lead Team at Smart EyeCare Center with practices in Augusta, Bangor, and Farmingdale, Maine plans the staff retreat every year. The details of the retreat are a surprise to the entire company – including Dr. Smart!

If you’re looking into planning a retreat for your business things to consider are:

  1. Survey. All staff members receive a short survey (1-3 questions) to complete. By asking for their input, we can get them involved on what type of topics may be of interest to them. They may want a little more time for socializing at lunchtime, or play more games. One thing we found out they did not want was “role playing”.
  2. Budget. Determine your retreat budget.
  3.  Location. We start planning our staff retreat approximately 6-8 months in advance. One of the first things we will need to decide on is where our retreat will be held and the date. We hold our retreats at the local YMCA camp the first week of September. The YMCA camp provides a building large enough for our group of 49 staff members. We have plenty of space for outdoor activities if the weather cooperates. The camp is located on a beautiful lake and we are able to swim, canoe, or kayak during our lunch break.
  4. Focus. What will we focus on for the day—teambuilding, conflict resolution, or understanding change. Will we need to bring in an external speaker or will we have our Lead Team members/doctors train on various topics.
  5. Agenda. We make an agenda for the whole day, and we stick to it the day of the retreat. Everything is planned right down to bathroom breaks!
  6. Dress comfortable. We encourage staff to dress comfortably. Because we have energizing activities, they are allowed to wear casual clothing—jeans are allowed!
  7. Food. We start the day with breakfast. We provide muffins, donuts, danish, fruit, coffee, milk and juice. For lunch we have either pizza delivered, a barbeque, or have it catered.
  8. Theme. We choose a theme and incorporate it into our activities.
  9. Ice Breaker. We usually choose one ice breaker to start the day. Since we usually have new staff members each year, this is a great way for everyone to mingle and meet each other from each of our locations.
  10. Team Building Activities. Because we have a large number of staff members, we break them up into 5-7 groups. We choose which staff member will be in each group because this guarantees that not all of the same staff from one location will be in the same group.
  11. Evaluate the retreat. Send a survey to the staff and find out what they liked best, liked least. What ideas do they have for the next retreat?

We hope this will be the best one to date! Stay tuned and you’ll be sure to see pictures from the day.

  • Fysh
  • Oakely
  • Ray Ban
  • Kate Spade
  • Liz Claiborne
  • MODO
  • Eco