How retreats can lead to breakthroughs in team productivity

Just returned from TeamGantt’s bi-annual company retreat. It was a lot fun, but it also allowed us to do some serious work. We created a fully functional app which we use internally and will eventually release it to the public. The problem is that we didn’t spend much time with our faces on a computer screen. We’re not the only ones who did this. The team retreat is making a comeback as more companies embrace remote work.
Retreats for company or team were once considered a perk or reward to attract top-notch talent. This expense doesn’t have a real ROI. Even if you don’t have remote team members, getting away from your daily colleagues can provide many benefits that can lead you to breakthroughs.
We are only at the third retreat of our team, so we will save the how-to for when we have more experience. If you’re in the middle of planning a retreat and need more information on how to do it, I recommend you read how Automattic, Zapier, or Buffer do it. What we can share is our reasons for doing them and the benefits we get from them.
Team Productivity vs. Personal Productivity vs. Team Productivity
Everybody talks about productivity from the perspective of personal work output. But what about team productivity?
Does it mean that the entire team is productive if each member of the team is productive? It won’t hurt, but unless everyone works in a vacuum and doesn’t need any help, personal productivity will not translate into team productivity. Communication is the most important aspect of ensuring your team runs smoothly.
Your team’s ability to communicate effectively is key to their success.
Text is not a good medium for human communication. Even with the use of emoticons, tone is lost completely.
Retreats are a great way to establish a rhythm with your coworkers and to communicate in an informal and relaxed setting. These informal interactions are key to understanding the subtleties of your colleagues’ communication. This knowledge can be carried into your digital conversations. Communication errors and misunderstandings decrease.
Think outside the box and get out of the office
You probably already know the quote.
Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same level thinking that created them.”
We all have problems throughout the year that can linger for years and we just can’t seem to solve them. Change your location is one of the best ways you can change your thinking. You can find novel locations that can lead to new thinking, and you can solve the problems you have.
You can shed some of your cognitive baggage from your cubicle or office. It is not unusual for great ideas to come up while out on the fishing trip or at the bowling alley with your colleagues.
Make it a family affair
Although I have only been with TeamGantt for a little over a year, I feel closer to my coworkers than I did at companies where I had worked twice as long. There are many reasons for this and many of them can be attributedto the 3 retreats that we had. One of those 3 retreats was a retreat for the family, and that trip had a significant impact on team bonding.
Although a family retreat is not necessary for every company, it can be beneficial for those who work in a family-centric culture such as TeamGantt’s. Spending time with family members and significant others adds depth to your relationships. The closer your coworkers become friends, the easier it will be to get along with them.