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Step-by-Step Guide to Planning the Perfect Company Offsite or Event.

A company offsite is an event where the employees leave their usual workplace to get a change of scenery that fosters creativity, teamwork, and strategic thinking. While the objectives of the offsite may vary, they often prove to be a great opportunity for employees to connect on a deeper level, align with the company's goals, and rejuvenate away from the daily grind of the office.


Sounds daunting, doesn't it?


That's why we've put together a step-by-step guide to make this herculean task of planning an event seem a little less intimidating. With a bit of direction a few insights, and some pro tips, we hope to help you make your next offsite a successful and memorable experience for everyone.



Step-by-Step Guide for Planning a Company Offsite or Event


STEP 1: Define the goal

Start by establishing the purpose of the offsite. This is a crucial step as understanding the intent of the offsite early on will help guide all subsequent decisions, and ensure that every element is in sync with the core objective. A well-defined goal makes it easier to tailor the activities, agenda, and overall structure of the event, making it more effective and achieving an ROI.


Tip:

Here are 12 possible goals for a company offsite that you can choose from, tweak, merge, or get inspired by.


  1. Team Building and Bonding: Strengthen relationships among team members and foster a sense of camaraderie and trust.

  2. Strategic Planning and Goal Setting: Develop and align company or team goals, and plan strategic initiatives.

  3. Innovation and Creativity: Encourage out-of-the-box thinking and brainstorming by providing a space for creative problem-solving sessions.

  4. Training and Development: Offer professional development workshops and seminars to enhance employees' skills and knowledge.

  5. Performance Review and Feedback: Conduct performance reviews in a relaxed setting and exchange constructive feedback.

  6. Vision and Mission Alignment: Reiterate the company’s vision and mission to ensure all team members are aligned with the company’s core values and objectives.

  7. Celebrating Achievements: Recognize and celebrate the team's successes and milestones to boost morale and reward hard work.

  8. Addressing Challenges: Identify and address current challenges faced by the team, and collaborate on solutions to overcome the obstacles.

  9. Networking and Relationship Building: Facilitate networking opportunities within the team or with external to build stronger professional relationships.

  10. Health and Wellbeing: Break from the usual work routine to reduce stress and promote mental and physical well-being through relaxation and leisure activities.

  11. Leadership Development: Identify and develop future leaders within the organization by providing leadership training and mentorship opportunities.

  12. Cultural Integration: Foster a strong and inclusive company culture by integrating new hires and reinforcing cultural values.



STEP 2: Determine the guest list

Are you taking the entire organization? a specific department? or particular team members? It is essential to get the right combination of participants to achieve the goals you have set for the offsite. Consider parameters such as team dynamics, the necessity of collaboration across departments, and group size.


Tip:

Balance your guest list by having a good mix of senior and junior staff to encourage a learning environment and inclusive brainstorming sessions.



STEP 3: Learn from the past

Review feedback and results from past offsites to identify what went well and needed improvements. This will help provide insights into the preferences for venues, activities, and logistics to be arranged in your current plan.


Tip:

It's become very easy to collect and analyze feedback with a host of free & paid tools. Use this feedback and your experience to make a Post-Event Review Document after each offsite. This will become an invaluable resource while planning future offsites.



STEP 4: Set and manage the budget

Create a detailed budget covering everything from the event venue to transportation, dining, activities, and accommodation. Your budget must remain as realistic as possible while being acceptable in terms of what you need to achieve.


Tip:

We're going to list out all the cost heads that you need to consider while budgeting your next offsite (or any event for that matter).

Even if you have considered all of the below, it's always advisable to keep a 10% contingency fund. In our experience, there is always going to be an unexpected expense.


Cost heads to consider while drafting your event budget:

  1. Venue and Location Costs: Venue rental, security deposits, insurance, and parking charges, accommodation, room blocks, incidentals (Wi-Fi, room service, etc.)

  2. Logistics: Airfare, bus/coach and car rentals for guests. Transportation for event collaterals and marketing materials. Ticketing platform fees and payment processing fees.

  3. Food and Beverage: Catering services, snacks and beverages, all meals, alcoholic beverages, and special dietary requirements.

  4. Event Production: General branding & event décor, fabrication of various elements, main stage, photo opportunities, media zones, etc., furniture rentals, floral arrangements, video equipment rental, sound equipment rental, lights rental, technical support staff, on-site staff (MC, hostess, security, etc.)

  5. Event Coverage: Photography, videography, editing & post-production.

  6. Marketing & Collaterals: Printed materials (flyers, brochures, banners, badges & lanyards), digital marketing (social media ads, email campaigns), PR services, swag and merchandise.

  7. Activities and Entertainment: Guest speakers, keynote speakers, entertainment/performers, team building activities, recreational activities.

  8. Power: Generators and venue fees for power consumption.

  9. Licenses & Permissions: Liquor permits, licenses for entertainment, licenses for playback of copyright music, permissions from local authorities (police, fire department, local governing bodies)



STEP 5: Choose the right location and timing

Pick the most suitable place for the event. Think about accessibility, amenities nearby, and how it fits with the objectives of the overall event. For example, a luxury resort by the beach for rejuvenation and team building, or a business hotel with conference facilities for strategic meetings. It's equally important to consider the best time to conduct the event as well, avoiding peak travel seasons, and to fall within the schedule of the company's operation.


Tip:

We're going to share a list of items you need to consider while selecting the perfect venue for your next offsite. However, always remember to conduct a site visit/recce of the venue before signing off on the contract.

  • Event Objective

  • Accommodation & Capacity

  • Availability & Booking Flexibility

  • Costs (rental fees, rooms, F&B)

  • Ambiance and Environment Aesthetics

  • Accessibility (proximity to airports, train stations, and major highways​)

  • Local Amenities (restaurants, hotels, and entertainment options)

  • Comfort Amenities

  • Catering

  • Inclusive Services

  • Seasonal Considerations

  • Reviews and References

  • Recce / Site Visit



STEP 6. Theme & communication strategy

Choosing a theme is a crucial aspect that can make or break the event's success. A well-thought-out theme can help to create a cohesive experience for attendees, foster engagement, and provide a framework for the event's content. Moreover, a creative theme makes your event memorable and stands out in the attendees' minds long after it's over.


Tip:

Check out our post on the power of themes where we've shared 5 different concepts with design renders to get those creative juices flowing and inspire your next offsite strategy.





STEP 7: Schedule activities and agenda

Create an engaging agenda that balances work and leisure. Put some ice-breakers, team-building activities, brainstorming sessions, and relaxing time into the schedule. The proposed activities are supposed to be related to the goals of the meeting and interest the participants. A great way to start engaging with the team even before the conference is to involve them in the organization process by asking them what kind of activities and sessions they would like to be part of.


Tip:

While keeping the participants involved in active and varied sessions, augment them with some downtime so they do not burn out.



STEP 8: Ensure employee engagement and participation

Use an engagement platform to generate anticipation, solicit feedback, and create excitement. Sessions should be interactive and should help exude a feeling of inclusion and collaboration while working together.


Tip:

You can use various means and technologies to engage your audience like; interactive workshops, personalized networking, live polling, gamification, interactive exhibits, AI-powered chatbots & virtual assistants, etc.

However, don't ignore the power of post-event engagement. Keep your guests involved with follow-up emails, surveys, and exclusive content. This helps in maintaining the connection with attendees and gathering valuable feedback that will help you up your planning game for the next edition of the offsite.




Conclusion


While this guide provides a broad framework to help you plan and execute an offsite that achieves its intended purpose and provides a great experience for your guests, it's imperative to note that you have to be flexible and adapt your plans based on your organization, your attendee's feedback, and accommodate for unplanned circumstances.


At Merakie, we understand that one size does not fit all - and therefore we tailor our services to the unique requirements of each of our clients. If you found this guide overwhelming, give us a call and we'll help you navigate the process in our best capacity, guiding you every step of the way to make your company offsite the best one yet.

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