02-Apr-2024 by Allison McMillan

Read Time: Approx. 3 minutes

Can't Meet in Person? Tips for Planning a Great Virtual Offsites

Let's face it. The market isn't what it once was. Investors are looking for something different. The bottom line is paramount in every conversation and you have a fully remote and distributed team... there's no way you're going to get approval for an offsite and a virtual offsite just sounds a bit like a punishment. Right?

WRONG!!!

I'm here to tell you that a virtual offsite, while challenging, can be great!! When most people think about a virtual offsite, they think of endless hours in front of their computer screen. They think of so many meetings that could have been emails. And they think of endless presentations. But what if your virtual offsite wasn't that? Because it doesn't have to be. Here are some of my top tips and recommendations for a successful virtual offsite.

  1. Update your goals. The goals of a virtual offsite CANNOT be the same as an in-person one. Spend some time thinking about the reasons you want to put the regular day-to-day work down. What should people walk out of this virtual offsite knowing or feeling? You'll have less time in a virtual offsite, so distilling the goals down to the most important items is critical.
  2. Think about timezones. This is the trickiest part of a virtual offsite with a distributed team!! Map out all of your timezones to determine what your core overlap hours are and then critical masses in any other time zones or time zone overlaps. Use those alternate times as ways to plan different team building options or even run the same program twice and then bring it together in the overlap time.
  3. Make it fun. No one wants to sit and watch presentation after presentation. Virtual offsites require extra magic. One thing I've done in the past is use "travel days" creatively to encourage mindset shifts as well as practice with whatever virtual tools we're using in a fun way. I've also sent "offsite kits" to each participant that remain closed until the offsite arrives. It provides a bit of mystery to the week and is a great group "unboxing" activity. In addition to these add-ons, there are some truly excellent virtual team building events and options that teams can really get into and have fun with. You don't have to sacrifice the fun just because things are remote.
  4. Know your tools. The variety and options these days of virtual tools are incredible. Additionally, you can use these boards and tools in non-standard ways to keep people moving and keep things exciting. Think about use of polls, pictures, breakout rooms, virtual whiteboard, post-it-ing, and even just google docs structured in the right way to encourage active participation. I wouldn't recommend using too many tools as you might confuse participants, especially if they are unfamiliar with the tools being used, but again, the options are there and can fit within any budget.
  5. Hire a professional. Planning a virtual offsite takes even more care and consideration than an in-person one. You need to think through a whole variety of tools, agendas, team dynamics, accommodations, and more in order to ensure a fun, inclusive, exciting, engaging, productive event. Hiring someone can help you shortcut hours of research and learning that you'd need to otherwise do on your own.

If you're eager to discover what an exceptional offsite looks like, talk about what's happening with your group right now, or have the ability to advocate for the budget to have an offsite today, Book a free consultation call with me today. With a range of pricing options and levels of involvement, I'm here to help you get to GREAT. Whether you're seeking a complete overhaul of the traditional offsite format or looking to infuse your event with fresh, impactful elements, I can help guide you through this journey.

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