How the Company Retreat Can REALLY Bring People Together

Agata Lesniak
7 min read
May 15, 2018
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LiveChat company retreat in Vienna

A mixture of different cultures, classical monuments, and parks on every corner with a clean flavour of malt and hops during the weekend. Ah, Vienna. That’s the place we chose for another LiveChat retreat.

Even if a trip to one of the most entertaining capitals in Europe sounds like a great plan, without a team spirit, it would be remembered as ordinary days off, not a company team-building trip.

After so many years of organizing events, formal and informal social parties, or company trips, we are true masters at teamwork activities. We enjoy our internal relationships, black humor, and knowledge which we always share with each other. The easiest way to show it is to participate in or hold your own hackathon. Yes, you're right - we also did it!

LiveChat hack and talk hackaton event winnters with prizes

Coming back to the company retreat in general - why people are always thrilled about it? Why couldn't they just organize something after work? Well, that's the point - it's almost impossible to get to know each other while working because of everyday lack of time. If you think that "Hey, how are you?" is the maximum people could use in their regular communication, we would recommend you stop reading at this point.

If you are still up for it and curious, how our tips could change your company retreat's perception, then - join us in the biggest Viennese marathon once again!

Get out of a rut, organize your own event, and benefit from it.

#1 Choose the goal that fits your company well

Think about the purpose of this kind of event. Remember about clear communication and promotion, pointing out that it wasn't a random period or place for your retreat.

Your employees are gamers and still talking about this brand new game? Maybe it's not too late to organize a trip to a world premiere or a more general yet hot conference (e.g. Gamescon). If you weren't up-to-date, reactivate the idea and celebrate it once again.

Run, LiveChat, run!

The main reason why we had chosen the stunning capital of Austria was the marathon. We are all active and really into this latest craze for a healthy lifestyle (except on Pizza-Fridays), so that was the perfect match. And it wasn't the first and the last time, for sure. As a whole team, we were running in two other European capitals - Prague and Berlin, and nobody wants to break this annual tradition. In fact, we are looking forward to it, more and more every year. Let's call running the official LiveChat sport!

LiveChat team running vienna april half marathon

We naturally split our team into two groups: runners and supporters. Over 40 people were supporting runners on the marathon route. And believe me - we’re great cheerleaders! It’s not a surprise. We’re supporting thousands of our customers every day, solving their problems. Our Heroes treat every case as Olympics, always winning a gold medal. As you can see, this kind of proactivity is in our blood.

Runners, our pride, were assisted by supporters who followed them until the finish line. Everybody knows that feeling after a strenuous activity - it’s far less exhausting if you share it with other people. That's why both runners and supporters are equally important. Great teamwork is essential!

LiveChat marathon supporters

#2 Forget about 100% agenda

During team retreats, it’s always more comfortable to plan ahead (ideally, an activity per hour), but that doesn't make it better. People get to know each other more easily through unexpected moments than during boring parties. Also, photos and videos from your event have a more genuine feel, without strict scenario and studied poses.

Take a look at the video from our Vienna trip:

Spontaneity goes first

As you could see in the video, we kept the balance between the cut and dried plan and spontaneity. The best example was our offhand idea to go to the amusement park (BTW, one of the largest in Europe) which we spotted during our bus ride. We made up our minds within a minute.

Once we had got past the gate, we all knew this experience was something that we all had been looking for. Those 5 hours were full of pure happiness and fun. Everybody felt like they’d gone back to childhood. And what is more important - we could've get close to each other freely.

LiveChat team on prater carousel company retreat

If you reach this state of mind, you're ready to build long-term relationships, produce the best results and take the satisfaction.

#3 Think about a cherry on top

It's summertime and you can't survive one day without a barbecue? Or you chose Wroclaw as a destination for your company retreat but now you’re not sure why there are so many bridges?

Explore and discover new things and places - this advice is still on, it’s a universal truth. Every time people change their environment (even by going to the woods for one day), they come back fresh, relaxed and ready for new challenges.

LiveChat marketing team on company retreat integration

Also, as the calendar is full of breaks and special occasions, we need to remember about cherry-picking the best ones. Match the activity to the character and atmosphere of your group. Don’t forget to plan ahead as people always have tons of private plans in summer.

Ahoy, sailors!

Austria is a pretty well-known country not only because of its hospitality and mountains. This time, we decided to take the evening cruise on the Danube, the second longest river in Europe. We were all thrilled about it from the very beginning. Austrian cuisine on board, city lights during the twilight and an amazing view from our spacious boat. We felt relaxed and ready to party.

What more did we need?

Danube view from livechat company retreat boat trip

#4 Enjoy your time

Our five-hour river journey was the highlight of our company retreat!

Excellent sense of timing plus a creative way of spending time together - that's the recipe for the fine LiveChat event. The boat had even a small dance floor! We treated the cruise as an aperitif and then, started the main party at our hotel. That was a great choice which warmed us up for the upcoming night and brought our team together. If we will have another chance to come back to Vienna and choose the activity for the evening - the boat is already on our list.

Is it that obvious? You cannot create a good perfume without proper essence - the same comes with a good atmosphere during the company event. Our essence is the whole team devoting its time to having fun together. We are individuals, with diverse minds and backgrounds, connected with each other as a team.

Celebrate like a boss

It really matters and... it's apparent. The party time is the celebration time. What's the most typical occasion? It could be a round number of clients, significant improvements, recruitment success. Interestingly, the most memorable ones are those made far from any special date or affair, out of the blue but with the perfect atmosphere.
Events are created by excellent team spirit. If a team normally doesn't feel the need to play with each other, then even the biggest amusement park wouldn't be a great source of entertainment.

If you’ve avoided a proper internal communication before an event and you haven’t cared about relations at work so far - don't count on an unforgettable event.

This is the end, now I’m ready...oh, wait?!

We built up excitement, so people enjoyed all small parts of our trip in their own way. We didn't talk about the details before the event, discussing only the necessary elements of our trip and informed about it on Slack and via mail (to be honest, the best prize for the organizer is when you could almost feel this anticipation before the event in the air…).

Our travel schedule wasn't really tight, we changed many small and bigger plans during the trip, always checking in with each other. Different strokes for different folks. We counted on our creativity and improvisation but at least from our perspective, that’s where the fun of all of it is.

Vienna half marathon center

There are no universal rules, the most appropriate plan for the company retreat or must-have gadgets. Let's focus on one of our mottoes: The more personalized event you create, the more people will get involved in it.

LiveChat, as a team, could benefit from their daily life as well as from any special occasions. We are the team that looks great not only on photos. Our harmony allows us to experiment with many kinds of activities, well-thought-out or not.

What does the nearest future bring? A lot of summer activities, hackathons and... who knows.

We've got teamwork - what's your superpower?

Photos taken by our awesome content writer Justyna.

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