Why organize a retreat for the whole company?

Team retreats offer a great opportunity for departments or senior executives in your company to come together to set goals, foster innovation, and boost team morale. For some companies – especially those who work remotely – it’s a priority to bring not just a portion, but the whole company on a retreat. Company-wide retreats with more than 50 people are growing in popularity as more employees are now fully remote.

There are unique challenges to planning a retreat with more than 50 people. Large company retreats mean that the whole company meets in the same place at the same time. All departments come together to focus on company culture or results. These gatherings can be annual or quarterly all-hands meetings to present company results and keep everyone up-to-date.

Surf Office has hosted dozens of retreats for large groups. We’ve arranged retreats for multiple large groups with up to 220 people – and we can definitely handle even larger groups. Our experts have learned a lot of insights from the planning and logistics process. Small companies can also take advantage of these lessons learned from big groups. Here’s what firsthand experience has taught us about planning company retreats.

What is the purpose of a company retreat?

There are a number of good reasons why your company might come together for a retreat. A team retreat can accomplish:

Team alignment on goals and mission
Boosting morale across the company
Building relationships between departments and teams
Generating new ideas and innovation
Sharing company results

Surf Office retreats for large groups or entire companies are usually shorter. Many of our retreats are three to five days. For full-team retreats, many companies choose to limit their offsite to two to three days. It really depends on your goal for the retreat and how much you wish to accomplish.

Organize your next company retreat with Surf Office

Sample agenda for a company retreat

The retreat agenda, of course, depends on your specific goals. For large groups, we recommend limiting your time to two to three days of action-packed adventure. Here’s an example of what a retreat agenda might look like for a larger group:

Day 1: Arrive and give your employees a chance to settle in.

Day 2: Welcome presentation, motivational speaker, and kick-off event.

Day 3: Productive sessions (hackathon, team-building, or presentations).

Day 4: Either more productive sessions, team bonding, and a farewell dinner.

Day 5: Everyone departs.

For more inspiration, read our detailed retreat schedule for large companies. A lot can happen with a large group – delayed flights, missed connections, or weather issues can derail a schedule quickly. Have some flexibility built into your agenda for worst-case scenarios.

Organize your next company retreat with Surf Office

Team building activities for large groups

While it is not too difficult to organize activities for groups of 15 people, the activities for 50+ are a challenge. Generally speaking, there are two approaches to organizing activities for large groups. First, you can divide the big group into smaller teams. Alternately, you can loosely organize an activity – like an afternoon at the beach – and let people decide how to spend their time. Read more about each approach in our guide to planning big group activities.

Lastly, we’ve learned through trial and error that it’s difficult to make restaurant bookings for large groups. The approach is different from making a reservation for a pair or family-sized group. Start your research by ticking the “good for large groups” option on Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Google. Learn more in our article, “5 common mistakes to avoid when booking restaurants for a large group”.

Organize your next company retreat with Surf Office

Case studies

Surf Office has had the pleasure of hosting company retreats for a number of large tech companies and startups. Check out the following examples to gather some ideas and inspiration for organizing a retreat for your own team.

Organize your next company retreat with Surf Office

What is included in our team retreat packages?

1. Workspace & Meeting Space

Are you planning a strategy meeting, design sprint, hackathon, kickoff meeting of a new project or “just” regular work time?

Whatever it is, we’ve got your back.

Expect a professional working environment with:

  • Desks and chairs
  • Meeting room
  • Whiteboard
  • Projector with all the fancy adapters
  • Post-its, markers, pencils, stickers & pens

And of course, very fast internet.


2. Accommodation

Each team has a bit of a different expectation when it comes to their retreat experience and that’s why you have the flexibility to choose different types of accommodation ranging from premium ensuite rooms to shared accommodation.

All of our accommodation options are located in central areas within walking distance from the restaurants and grocery stores. You don’t need to rent a car or use public transportation to move around. We want to make your stay as easy as possible.

You have 100% security that your booking won’t be canceled (anyone with experience of last-minute group booking cancellation can relate).

We understand that your team might be growing and you might need to add additional rooms over time, you’ll have this flexibility too.

Surf Office Lisbon - Community Dinner

Accommodation in Surf Office Ericeira, Portugal


3. Team Retreat Planning & Facilitation

We’ve built a system that makes retreat planning easy and fast.

We’ll plan every detail of your retreat from start to finish, so that you don’t have to. This includes:

  • Reservation of activities, transport & restaurants
  • Tips for local places to visit and activities
  • Crafting of unique experiences
  • Troubleshooting

You will get a personalized schedule and online dashboard with all of your retreat information before your retreat starts. Our onsite support will show you everything you need to know upon your arrival and make sure everything goes smoothly for you and your team.

Organize your next company retreat with Surf Office

“I just wanted to say a thousand thanks to you for all of your hardwork and help in the organising of our team summit. It was a huge success and we couldn’t have done it without you!”

Emma Louise Bowen, People & Operations Manager in Peakon

How does it work?

1. Tell us more about your plans

We would like to hear more about your plans and how we can make your next company summit a success.

Do you have an office in one location or is your team distributed? Can employees bring their partners? Is the retreat going to be more about work or fun?

2. Planning with your dedicated project manager

Even finding and booking one single restaurant for the dinner can be a painful project. Is the food going to be good? Is the price fair? How many of our team members have diet restrictions?

Each retreat is a combination of multiple smaller projects and with a large group the complexity might be scary.

But no worries, we mastered this process and made it fun and easy.

Our experienced project manager dedicated to you will help you with a whole organisation from searching for flights to crafting unique surprise activities for your team.

We will be your one-stop-shop for all of the logistics of your retreat. The Retreat Planner assigned to your group will work with you to book and coordinate everything from A-Z, providing you with peace-of-mind and a guarantee of quality and reliability from our local partners at the best possible prices.

According to our repeat clients and our first-time clients who have previous experience in organizing retreats in-house, this is the greatest value that we bring we bring to them.

3. Detailed plan and schedule of your company retreat

At the end of the planning process you will end up with the bullet-proof schedule. There is no room for improvisation with a large group.

Everything must work perfectly, all the activities and transfers must be just-on-time.

Sounds like a dream end, right? That’s how we work.

You are ready for your epic company retreat.

How does Surf Office work?

Choose your location

Choose one of our 26 locations in Europe and USA.