Within the marketing department here at Dominion Systems, we make a point to get off-site from time to time. Whether it’s to drive across state to attend a Hubspot User Group or just down the road to our favorite coffee shop, we understand the importance of getting a change of scenery every once in a while. As a company, however, this can be pretty difficult to manage. After all, many of the departments within our organization have to be on site in order to run on all cylinders. That being said, we manage to get everyone from the company off-site whenever possible. For example, every year we throw a huge holiday party to celebrate the hard work we do during year-end. We also get each department to go out on a “department outing” over the summer months. Whether it’s a day spent on the lake or on the golf course, this is a great way to get some fresh air and not feel cooped up over the summer months. Whenever one department is out for the day, everyone else is happy to step in to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
You might be asking yourself, “Is it worth going through the extra work and spending the money to make this happen?” Well, we at Dominion believe that the benefits of getting your department or entire organization off-site, even once or twice a year, definitely out way the costs. Here’s why:
1. Build Company Culture
The benefits of putting time, effort and yes, even money, into fostering a solid company culture cannot be understated. From recruitment to retention to employee wellness, it’s easy to see why companies make this such a priority. This doesn’t mean you have to do annual company picnics (are those even a thing still?), but there are a number of things you can do to get your team off-site to blow off some steam and have a good time. In addition to a golf outing one Friday every summer, our IT team does a weekly “Taco Thursday” where they all go get lunch together at one of the local Mexican restaurants down the road. These traditions offer them opportunities to bond with each other, creates comradery between an otherwise independent department, and improves the overall employee experience.
2. Connect with Remote Employees
I understand that not all companies are structured exactly like Dominion, but I think a lot of businesses can relate to our experiences in one way or another. After all, it isn’t uncommon for an organization to have remote employees, whether it’s a satellite office or a number of salespeople who spend all their time on the road. It’s important to get your whole team in one place from time to time in order to strengthen the community and share ideas. There’s no doubt that there are a lot of perks to being a remote employee, but it can get lonely and it’s easy to feel left out when the majority of your company spends time together on a daily basis. Find an opportunity to get your remote employees and in-house employees all in one place. Whether it’s for a non-work related party or a company meeting where people share ideas and strategies, you’ll find the comradery that is birthed from these kinds of events will do amazing things for your business.
3. Get Outside Knowledge
Getting off-site for an afternoon is a great opportunity to get some outside knowledge from other professionals in your industry. Whether you’re hosting a company picnic and invite some keynote speakers to do a lecture or you go to a location that will help you learn about trends in your specific industry, getting some outside knowledge can be invaluable to your company’s success. Do you run a coffee shop? Get your team out to a roaster factory to get some hands-on experience with how coffee is made. Are you the manager of a golf course? Get your team out to other golf courses that they haven’t been to before. This is not only a fun outing with a shared passion but will also allow your team to see other examples of how things could be done. With the whole team all together, it’s easy to bounce ideas around and brainstorm.
4. Have Fun
The most important thing about these off-site gatherings is for your team to have fun. Very few jobs in today’s workforce are stress-free, so it’s important to offer incentives to keep employees happy. Yes, “working hard” should be the default, but that doesn’t mean the hard work should go unrewarded. When employees see that their company is willing to go out of their way to help them have fun end encourage their personal - as well as professional - growth, you’ll find increased productivity and retention across the board.
As I mentioned before, once a quarter the marketing department here at Dominion will drive across state to Ann Arbor for a Hubspot User Group. During this time we get some quality bonding time together, have a chance to meet up with our satellite office in Rochester Hills, learn a lot from other marketers in similar industries, and have fun to boot. This is just one of the reasons we’ve become such a successful department and, in turn, company. With a CEO who stands behind these ideals, the employees of Dominion Systems enjoy coming to work every day, even if “coming to work” doesn’t always necessarily mean we’ll actually be in the building!
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