On-site or offsite? What is right for your business and when

The concept of on-site barely existed in the pre-pandemic world. Why would it be, when every day takes place on the site for virtually all companies? Offsites represent an exciting, annual event that sees team members gather at a country lodge or a city hotel for strategy sessions and deep dive team building exercises. The recipe was simple and straightforward. People meet every day at the office and once a year are treated to a fun and memorable offsite.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, things are quite different. The traditional workplace is in flux, with 81% of business leaders believing that hybrid work will be the dominant work model by 2024. As teams become increasingly distributed and work becomes more flexible, companies are facing a new question – how do we bring people together for real-life, face-to-face interaction?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but lies in its core concept intentionality

Purpose-led experiences through critical moments

When it comes to intentionality, what you’re really talking about is intention. In our new world of work, the concept of “purpose” is key. Bringing people together in real life, whether it’s for offsite meetings or colleagues in an office environment, needs to be driven by purpose. Think about it – how many times have you heard the word “I just came from a meeting that could have been an email“? or “We could totally do it zoom…”

Creating a purpose-led experience for your employees is the bottom line when developing a strategy for face-to-face interactions. It’s how you define your company culture as a purpose-led organization that holds employees accountable to a certain set of values ​​and behaviors. By basing your strategy for in-person meetings around purpose, you set the stage for the kind of meetings that drive engagement, talent development, productivity, and creativity.

So, before setting up any kind of real-life meeting, make sure the following questions are clear:

  • What results do we want to achieve through this meeting?
  • What format will it take? Is it brainstorming, a 1:1, team-building, etc.?
  • Would it be more beneficial to have this meeting in the office or in a more informal setting?
  • What value do we gain by hosting these meetings in person via video conferencing tools?

What is the difference between an on-site and an off-site?

As the name suggests, these are types of team meetings that differ based on location and activity.

On-Site Events: An event that brings together colleagues in your office or designated work environment. Activities will typically include group work, peer, strategy and alignment meetings, 1:1s, some workshops, and maybe a social event or two.

Offsite Events: An event that brings together colleagues outside the office with the goal of creating a shared, memorable experience among employees. These events can take place somewhere in nature, in a different city or even in a hotel in your hometown away from your regular place of work. Typically offsite events will include team-building activities, creative sessions, social events and more.

So, how do you know what kind of real life event to host?

Should I choose an on-site?

If you’re thinking of hosting an on-site meeting for your teammates or colleagues, it’s important to understand what the benefits are. As with any real-life meeting, it’s important to remember that the magic of meeting in person is all about collaboration and teamwork.

Site days aren’t about teams checking items off their to-do lists or working on asynchronous tasks in the same place. These days are all about working together, sharing ideas and letting those sparks of energy and creativity fly.

When organizing the perfect on-site day, here are a few ideas on what you can do:

  • Fill the day with productive, purpose-driven meetings – Get people in the same meeting space! Set a clear agenda for the day and fill it with meetings between team members that will add value to the task at hand. Make sure they have clear goals and objectives for each meeting.
  • Sprinkle in some out-of-the-box, problem-solving Activity – Depending on how distributed your team is, you may not get the chance to get their creative juices flowing very often. Team members can kick their creative thinking into high gear while individually doing some of their daily tasks!
  • Don’t forget the social element – Organize a lunch or after-work activity for teams meeting on site. Social activities like sharing meals, going to escape rooms, or going out for drinks after work are really great ways for teams to bond outside of a traditional work environment. It’s the one thing that drives engagement and a sense of togetherness!

Should I opt for an offsite?

Sometimes, you’re looking to be bigger than an on-site event. That’s where offsites come in especially handy! You want to bring the team together for a few days, get them to make memories together, get out of their normal work routine and have a great time. Meeting Offsite does just that!

Here are some important things to consider before planning your next offsite event:

  • What is the goal of offsite? Is it team bonding? Alignment on goals and strategy? Once you understand what your offsite is, everything else will fall into place
  • Where do you host it? Based on the reason behind your offsite, you need to find the perfect locale for it. For example, if you are planning to run a 2-day training session, you will likely need a venue with conference rooms, catering and designated work areas. If you are more interested in team-building, an outdoor space or a venue close to an area for activities would be more suitable.
  • How long will it last? Is it day offsite or overnight? Or perhaps a 2 night affair? When planning your agenda, remember not to jampack your offsite to the point where people don’t have room to breathe. Remember, this is meant to be an enjoyable perk so make sure your event agenda reflects this.

Further Reading Offsite:

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