Let us help organize your next strategic offsite.

Why organize a leadership retreat?

For distributed and fully remote companies is it crucial to meet at least once a year on a team building retreat. It gives the whole company the chance to get to know each other. Team retreats help build morale, align on company goals, and increase employee engagement.

Equally important are retreats reserved for the leadership team. Executives often work 12-hour days. It’s difficult to get a clear picture of how the company is growing outside of the packed schedule of an executive. Here’s what to expect from a leadership retreat with Surf Office, and why you should start planning one for your executive team now.

What is the purpose of a leadership retreat?

At a leadership retreat, the senior management team gets the chance to talk about the company’s future and look at the company’s performance objectively. Typically, the attendees stay in a luxury hotel (minimum 4-star) with the event space for two to three days.

Time away from the office leads to increased productivity and boosts morale. A 2017 GfK survey found that “78% of managers felt time off improved the focus of their employees; 70% said it renews staff commitment.” Putting your top managers in a new environment can spark creativity and critical thinking.

Organize your next company retreat with Surf Office

700+ retreats organized ● 10 years of experience ● 160+ retreat locations
Get a quote

5 Tips on hosting an effective strategic offsite

Surf Office has deep experience hosting leadership retreats. This has taught us that there are five things teams need to do to make the most of their offsite:

  1. Prepare ahead of time
    Set goals and topics that trigger conversations before the retreat.
  2. Divide your time
    Spend 20% of the time focusing on the current situation (wrap up), and 80% of your time thinking about the future. Go offline. Disconnect from daily tasks for the time of the retreat, even if it’s for three days.
  3. Keep it focused
    Limit the sessions to topics that are relevant. Don’t go too deep into topics that aren’t relevant. For example, your topics might include: new technology trends, disruption, challenge assumptions, innovation.
  4. Have a plan
    Discuss how to execute or test the strategic ideas that come out of the retreat.

Leaders often continue discussions also during activities. It’s important to organize team activities in addition to strategic sessions.

Strategic offsite for Leadership team

Some companies book a retreat facilitator. A neutral retreat facilitator can allow team members to freely focus on the content. Another option is to invite a coach who gives the team some organizational insights or prepares a workshop. These workshops are focused on a specific goal. For example, if the company has issues with hiring, the hiring expert is called as a guest of a leadership workshop.

Organize your next company retreat with Surf Office

Get a quote

Leadership team activities

Leaders need team building activities too. Surf Office has learned through experience that setting aside time specifically for team building is important. Instead of adding one-hour slots between workshops and strategy sessions, give your executives a whole afternoon for this type of activity.

Activities can range from sailing to brewery tours to exploring a new city. In the right retreat locations, Surf Office can book as many boats as needed for a sailing outing. For instance, Surf Office often provides sailing team building activities in Lisbon, Ericeira, Santa Cruz, Mallorca, Valencia, Barcelona.

A favorite of leadership groups is the craft brewery tour. In Marvila neighborhood in Lisbon, we’ll take your team to see from the firsthand how beer is made. Do similar micro-brewery tours in classic beer destinations of Europe, such as Prague and Berlin. Alternatively, you can visit Arehucas rum distillery in Gran Canaria island,  tour a winery in Ericeira or Napa valley.

Surf Office can also organize an electro bike tour in Barcelona, or Madrid. Take board members hiking in Gran Canaria or around Portugal coast. For your top managers, reserve dinner at a luxury restaurant with a tasting of local dishes.

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

Case studies

Avocode’s retreat as a mini startup accelerator

Avocode is a tool that helps designers and developers collaborate on one seamless platform. For their work retreat, the team spent 10 days with Surf Office Lisbon working as a mini-startup accelerator.

The group of 20 divided into small teams on day one, and then spent the time working on specific projects. The last day of the retreat was dedicated to presenting each team’s results with the rest of the group. As a result, Avocode’s work retreat drove innovation. Their result is a great example of how to make the most of limited time to do some creative thinking.

Mynd retreat resulted in 12 new products features

Mynd is a property management company based in California. For their work retreat, Mynd’s team of 32 people relocated for 10 days to Surf Office Barcelona. Like Avocode, they spent the first three days running a hackathon. The team developed 12 new product features in a quick sprint of innovation.

Mynd’s approach to their work retreat was to prepare beforehand; key design elements were already in place when they arrive in Spain. As a result, the team could move quickly and work without designers. Consider what you need to do to prepare before arriving onsite for your work retreat.

Mattermost’s innovative design retreat

Mattermost is a communication software company that makes a Slack-alternative messaging platform. Their team retreat in Lisbon combined innovation and team-building in five days.

Mattermost spent their work retreat building a product roadmap, discussing their core values, team-building, and hosting a hackathon. Check out more in this video from their CTO, Corey Hulen.

Invision’s team comes together for beach meetings

Finally, InVision is a product design tool and 100% remote company. The team met in Ericeira for a work retreat with Surf Office.

They split their time between team bonding – stand-up paddle, surfing, and eating incredible seafood – and a hackathon. During their one-day hackathon, InVision built new product features and internal communication tools.

Organize your next company retreat with Surf Office

Get a quote

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.

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

Get a quote

“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 160+ locations in Europe, America, Asia-Pacific, and North Africa.

Map with Surf Office EU and US retreat locations