By Olivia Orman
“Bleisure” (business + leisure) has continued to become more commonly embraced in the meetings and events world. One way to provide an integrated “bleisure” experience is through a company retreat. Whether large organizations are looking for a central location to unify their nationwide offices, or smaller groups are looking for an offsite place to confer, company retreats can increase employee morale, encourage collaboration, and boost productivity.
Company Retreats… Without Technology
When properly facilitated, organizations can depart from a company retreat with new ideas, perspectives, and approaches towards challenges and projects. To achieve these outcomes however, attendees must actively direct their attention towards the objectives at hand and make focused decisions. The primary factor that tends to disrupt these critical strategy sessions, more often than not, though, is smartphones.
The auditory and visual prompts of notifications and home screens create distractions that oftentimes result in inattentiveness and lower participation. Thus, to maximize the benefits and long-term success of a company retreat, one approach organizations can take is to theme their group outing around digital minimalism.
1. Select the Setting
A primary aspect of planning a digital minimalism retreat involves determining where the group outing will take place. An optimal setting for a digital minimalism retreat is a retreat center with meeting space and onsite activities. Retreat centers can create analog, activity-based experiences while providing a few extra amenities to enhance the group outing.
2. Plan the Activities
Another crucial area of planning a digital minimalism retreat is determining which activities to build into the group outing. If the objective of the digital minimalism retreat is to problem-solve in the boardroom, for instance, write an agenda for what needs to be discussed and acquire necessary materials (i.e., notepads, markers, easel, and post-it notes).
For a digital minimalism retreat intended to serve as a team building experience, determine which activities to offer, when these activities will take place, and who will lead these activities. A few ideas include competitive sports and games, outdoor exploration, arts and crafts, and boardgames.
3. Set the Ground Rules
Most importantly, organizations must establish a device policy. Digital minimalism, as the term suggests, is centered around minimal usage of digital devices. Because the idea of keeping technology usage to a minimum is open to interpretation, organizations have the ability to define what that would look like for their own digital minimalism retreat.
To prepare attendees for what they will experience, it is important to first establish the technology parameters and strategic objectives for this group outing and communicate them to everyone involved. Are attendees only able to use their devices outside of meetings/activities? During a certain time? Evenings only? Make it clear in advance what and for how long attendees will need to do without.
Minimize to Maximize
While these are just a few ideas to help organizations plan a digital minimalism retreat, there are many ways to go about this type of “bleisure” function. The options for meetings and events with minimal device usage are, in fact, just about endless.
A final consideration to note above all is that, while organizations may have used digital minimalism theming specifically for their company retreat, digital minimalism can continue to carry into future group functions and overall company culture to further increase productivity, creativity, and critical thinking skills. After all, minimizing device usage maximizes results.
To learn more about the Livin’ Analog Day Retreat taking place this fall, visit www.livinanalog.com/day-retreat or email firstname.lastname@example.org.