🏄‍♂️  Team activities

📋  Case studies

Why organize a team retreat?

Start with the purpose. There are many possible reasons why your team might be organizing a team offsite (check out some of our case studies here), including:

  Improving team communication and collaboration

  Innovation or organising a hackathon

  Bringing together your remote team for a bonding experience 

  Product roadmapping

  Rebranding

  Solving tensions between team members

 Identifying what’s not working in the company and fixing it

Step-by-step: Planning a team retreat

Here are a few steps we’ve put together based on our experience with the teams we’ve had the pleasure of working with here at Surf Office.

1. Decide how many days your retreat should take.

For a retreat to be successful, it needs to take at least 2 days, as 1 day should be spent off-site. The ideal number is typically between 3 and 5 days – depending on the size of your distributed team and if you need to focus on larger tasks. Sometimes, we even have teams stay for 2-3 weeks.

2. Set the retreat budget

The retreat budget consists of transport costs, accommodation costs, meal allowance, and team activities. For instance, Buffer sets their budget for the annual retreat at $5,000 per person and the mini-retreats at $1,400 per person. You can read more on how to optimize the retreat budget here or contact us for more help and advice.

3. Pick the right location

Picking the right location is the single most important decision you make during the retreat planning process. It directly influences the costs and team satisfaction with the retreat. You may be drawn to more affordable locations like Prague or Lisbon. Many teams prefer sunny locations near the beach, such as Ericeira or Gran Canaria. Other teams prioritize fun activities in historical cities (Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin). To help make your decision easier, we divided locations into categories. Our tool called Location Finder can help you find the ideal location for your next retreat, if you have a distributed team.

4. Select the type of retreat venue for your team

Many teams put more emphasis on the retreat venue than the location. Imagine you have a team of 30 members and you want to have your team together all the time. A great way to do this is by making a full-buyout of a retreat villa (or small boutique hotel). The villa that suits the exact number of your team members can be hard to find. Therefore, finding the villa with the right capacity matters more than its location – it is less important if the villa is located near Barcelona, Valencia, or Lisbon.

5. Draft the structure of your retreat

The best retreats are a blend of working and team building. There needs to be a balance between getting busy with work tasks and having some fun. For example, teams in Lisbon like to start off their day working from the office in the morning. Then they go surfing after lunch and wrap it up with some more work in the afternoon – i.e. brainstorming sessions or presentations, leaving the evening for more bonding over dinners/drinks.

6. Keep everyone from the team in mind

Due to the nature of their job, some of your team members won’t be able to be there all the time. Those who work in sales or customer service will need to spend at least some time during the retreat on their daily tasks. Unless you have someone covering for them, remotely or in the headquarters of your company.

7. Plan the goal of the work sessions, meals, and team building activities

Do you plan to fix some company problems during your retreat? Or will you innovate through a hackathon, design sprint, or product roadmapping? The mornings are ideal for getting work done, and believe us, being off-site and out of your office can definitely help focus. There are also teams that choose to spend more time team bonding than working. After all, what will your coworkers remember the most? Fun team-building activities of course. PS: Don’t forget about your teams’ cuisine preference, and dietary restrictions when planning team meals!

Planning a team retreat with Surf Office: dashboard
Example of Surf Office dashboard with retreat schedule
Organize your next team retreat with Surf Office

Types of team retreats

Organizing a retreat means going offsite together and setting the balance between work and fun. Depending on which of these two is more important each company’s balance might look a little different, we differentiate 5 types of team retreats below.

The first type is a work retreat, a team gathering where priority is work and team activities are something extra. The second type is a team building retreat, where the focus is on connecting with coworkers on a personal level. Finally, we divide team retreats according to the participants. There are leadership retreats, startup retreats, and remote team retreats and each one of them has different requirements.

Organize your next team retreat with Surf Office

Choosing team activities

What do you aim to achieve with your team? Do you want to improve the performance of the team? Address interpersonal problems within the group? Or just have some fun and bond with your team after some hard work? There are different kinds of team building activities. You can choose between communication activities, problem solving, adaptability, or activities that focus on building trust.

Check out some of the team activities we offer by visiting the links down below.

Case studies

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

Organize your next team 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 team retreat with Surf Office

“Thanks for a great offsite venue @surfoffice – we had a blast!”

James Allgrove, Head of Growth at Stripe UK

Next steps after requesting a quote

1. Confirm Details

You will confirm with us the number of people, location (we can also recommend the best location based on where your team is located and prices of flights), dates and your desired setup for accommodation.

2. Invoice & Payment

After confirming details, we will send you an invoice. You can pay by wire transfer, credit/debit card or PayPal.

3. Team Retreat Planning

This process is super easy. With our playbook you will quickly create a personalized schedule. We’ll make sure you get all the information well before your retreat time and you will have our support person available throughout the whole process.

4. Retreat Time

Expect an introductory tour after your arrival. Our onsite support is available in case you need anything. We will give you local tips and remind you about your planned activities throughout the retreat.

How does Surf Office work?

Choose your location

Choose one of our 15 locations in Europe and USA.

Portugal 🇵🇹

Lisbon

Ericeira

Madeira

France 🇫🇷

Biarritz

Czechia 🇨🇿

Prague


Germany 🇩🇪

Berlin