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Team building retreats: simple activities to build strong relationships with your core team

Corey Loehr
November 1, 2022
Team building retreats|Team building retreats

Team building retreats allow your team members to separate from their responsibilities and bond. Although the retreats are effective for helping team members connect and solve problems together, they are not the easiest to plan. So, what is the purpose of a team retreat or how do you plan a team building retreat?

This guide will give unique retreat ideas and planning tips and show you how to organize incredibly fantastic team-building retreats everyone will love. 

Why are in-person team-building retreats important?

Team building events help team members work more cohesively towards organizational goals by promoting collaboration and bonding. The hustle of the workday, workload and noisy work environment can make it difficult for team members to detach and see each other as people rather than coworkers. As a result, team events represent an opportunity to unwind for a few days outside the work environment to socialize and have fun while still talking business. 

In-person team building events provide a chance to get to know everyone on your team on a deeper level. It can provide an opportunity to connect with people in other departments and shake hands. More importantly, though, team building retreats provide an opportunity to discuss big plans, tackle work challenges, design new products, and generate fresh ideas. 

 Well-planned company retreat ideas can accomplish innovation and optimization, team communication and collaboration, conflict resolution, and bonding. But to get the best out of it, you must consider a few factors.

One-day or multi-day overnight?

When planning a team-building retreat, one of the factors you must consider is the duration. In other words, do you want a single-day or multi-day retreat?

To decide the duration of the retreat, consider the following: 

●       Will a day be enough to have fun and still discuss crucial matters? 

●       Will it be during work hours, after work, or weekend? 

●       Can everyone participate at the same time? 

●       Can team members travel from the retreat location and resume work immediately? 

To get the desired effect, we recommend you organize a multi-day retreat. Most team-building retreats last for 5 days or more, from Monday to Friday. This way, team members can enjoy the weekend as they wish and return to work refreshed and energized.

Accommodation considerations for team building retreats

Unsurprisingly, choosing the accommodation for a team building retreat can be complicated since you need to consider factors like proximity to the attendees and the number of attendees. A spacious accommodation is comfortable and will contribute to the retreat's success. However, it can wreck your budget. Therefore, plan the lodging to fit into the budget while ensuring enough space for the number of attendees.

Travel distance - drive or fly?

So, you might be wondering, "what are the team building retreats near me?" But before you ask that, you must consider transportation if the event is far from your regular work site or outside working hours. So, should you drive or fly?

 If it is a multi-day event in your country or in your section of the country in a large nation such as the United States, we recommend driving. If it’s outside your country or not within a few states of your area, you may have no choice but to fly to the venue. For convenience, you can explore shared vehicles, carpools, public transport, or a logistics company. 

However, if it is a day retreat, you can’t waste time on car transportation since attendees need to resume work the next day. In this case, consider air transport, whether the retreat is held in your country or not. 

The most important thing about transportation is to  consider your budget and find the most suitable option.

Agenda once on site - what kind of team building exercises should you plan?

Every team-building retreat is different. Ideally, team-building retreats should be a mix of business and entertainment activities for all. You can modify your agenda to create a list of fun team-building activities for team members to laugh, learn, and connect. Here is what a 3-day team building retreat can look like:

Day 1: Games

After arrival and check in, start the day with a fun icebreaker game so everyone can slowly ease into the retreat. Some popular games you can try include:

Office trivia – for bonding

Official trivia is easy to complete and aids integration. All you need to do is develop a series of questions about your workspace - who runs what department, what certain policies are, how many people have a certain kind of pet, etc. The essence is to test your team’s knowledge and how observant they are, as well as offer some lighthearted bonding.

Consider sending out a team survey ahead of the retreat to gather answers for the trivia questions, or offering a small prize for the highest number of correct responses.

Scavenger hunt and escape room – for collaboration and teamwork

If the retreat is held in a new location, use it as a source of inspiration and put the team together for a scavenger hunt. You can theme the clues around the company, the location, or common knowledge. Apart from scavenger hunts, you can organize escape rooms; add spice to it by pairing team members to encourage teamwork and collaborative problem-solving.

Day 2 – Workshop

After having fun on the first day, spend the morning of the second day solving a work-related problem. It could be a workshop, presentation, or communication of company results. You can also organize training sessions, introduce new members, and organize seminars and product challenges. 

Dedicate the entire morning to business. However, the afternoon does not have to be as rigid. You can organize a cooking or food-tasting event or go out for a team dinner or karaoke.

Day 3 – More fun

Gather the team together to go to the movies or game night. You can also consider outdoor activities like hiking or golfing. Some other retreat activities for adults you can explore include: 

●       Would you rather, or truth and dare 

●       The map games 

●       18 and under game 

●       Puzzle 

●       Arts and crafts 

●       Tabletop and team-centered games 

●       The egg drop challenge 

●       Surf lessons 

●       Whale watching

Consider what local attractions may make for a memorable retreat experience.

Outdoor time - disconnect from technology, force connection with one another - no phone time

Team retreats bring team members from different backgrounds. As a result, there is a chance it’ll include introverts and people that don’t mix well with others. To encourage participation and reduce distraction, create a “no phone” rule throughout the sessions. This will allow participants to disconnect from technology and create genuine connections with one another.


Your team-building retreat can be an opportunity to show your team members that you value them. Beyond the workload and the bureaucracies at work, they can have fun, meet and bond with teammates from other departments, and resolve tension and conflicts. You can use the opportunity to align employees with company culture and motivate them to improve their performance and boost sales.