Looking to create a corporate retreat that colleagues actually want to attend? Here are some helpful hints guaranteed to have you and your guests well taken care of and well prepared for a productive session. 


The first thing to consider is the space and the kind of vibe you are looking to create. Is this a small and intimate executive style conversation or a larger, more casual gathering? Depending on the crowd and the content, you will want to find a space that both fits physically as well as mentally. For example, if you are hosting a small team of industry leaders, you may want to opt for something a bit more private and even a bit more luxurious like a hotel suite or country club wine room. On the other hand, if you are looking to take folks out of their comforts zone, you may want to go with something unexpected and funky like a loft or rooftop patio. But not to worry, our DESIGNER8* team can help with venue recommendations and layouts.

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Furniture choices also play a large part on the style and success of an off-site. some groups need to be seated in a traditional table and chair arrangement to focus. Other teams, however, may be more inspired by causal and communal seating like oversized highboys with stools or lounge seating with comfy options like bean bags and chaises. and of course, the style and color of these choices also plays a role in creating the overall atmosphere. Bringing in bright colors can create a fun and free environment that may yield more creative conversations and communication. DESIGNER8* has an incredible depth of inventory across a number of seating styles and our designers can work with you to create the perfect mix for each and every event. 

Maxwell Chairs

Never underestimate the power of food! How and when you feed your guests, will have a lot to do with overall energy level and productivity. Think through your agenda and plan your food and beverage accordingly. Regardless of start time, we always recommend having something out and available for guests upon arrival. This can be anything from an elaborate buffet or sit-down meal to a cute coffee cart with custom drinks and pastries. And it’s important to keep guest tummies satisfied throughout the day. Think about having snacks served between meals and/or munchies available on tables about the space. Morning refreshments can range from fruit smoothies and protein bars to self-serve cereal bars with all of the toppings. Afternoon events often include lunch or dinner, but don’t have to be eaten from a box or around a table. Think ahead – is there an outside able you can use at the venue with casual seating? Is there a local taco guy or burger cart you can bring in for an hour? Keeping lunch more flexible, allows for more spontaneous synergies and allows guests a comfortable setting to unwind and connect. It also gives busy folks a few minutes to check their emails without feeling like they are being rude at a more formal table setting. Afternoon snacks are equally important when planning long sessions – what is going to keep the team on their toes? A treat cart with salty and sweet goodies? And ice cream truck? Also, a fun opportunity to bring in energy boosters like Red Bull’s and protein bars. 


You’ll also want to think through the content for the day and what will be the best way for guests to consume it. Is this a crowd that will appreciate large monitors? Is this a scrappy crew that prefers stickies and large post it pads? Or something in between? Take the group and agenda into consideration when making these decisions as well as the length of time for the session. The longer it is, the better it is to keep things interesting and mix media where possible. You can also work with venues to create unique breakout spaces for team exercises. Cabanas, beachside blankets, rooftops, fire pits, wine rooms, and a variety of other options may be available. 


And lastly, try to keep a few fun surprises up your sleeve! Maybe you kick off the day with a meditation session? Maybe you bring in a masseuse for short chair massages in the afternoon? Maybe a tequila tasting? Keeping your guests minds and moods in mind will help you design the perfect day and maximize productivity!

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