Looked to see if this was in another forum first but couldn't find anything.

After listening to about 90% of all podcasts I hear mention of "not using off-sites" for this or that. If things are done right, is there any significant need for offsites? Meaning, should a goal be keep business "in house" and leave offsites for strictly fun if anything? Think they are nice and I agree with the whole Teambulding doesn't work per say.

My thought is to pull some of my direct managers off site once a month or quarter to do some development (like implementing manager tools), not team building. The purpose would be an uninterupted envoirnment for immersion or focus. We have conference rooms and offices but interupptions always seem to happen from above and below. These interruptions could be lack of implementing other diciplines. Thank you for your thoughts.

thaGUma's picture

It seems to me like 'Offsite' is over-used when someone is trying to indicate this is an important idea or concept.

If it is essential not to be disturbed, you could equally book one of your conference rooms for a day. Or turn off the computers and phones (OMG I hear) and have an all day event at your workspaces depending on size of team.

Why add to company and your budget the expense of hiring a facility and feeding people when the same result could be acheived by locking your team in a room with a flipchart for a few hours?

Climb down off my soapbox...


madamos's picture
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Offsite meeting can be useful for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is good to get out of the office just for a change of pace.

Sometimes, depending on the attendees for the meeting, it is beneficial to be physically away from the office to avoid distractions. When having a day long meeting in the office, you usually start losing people as they start to check e-mail during a break or a caught in the hallway and pulled into a "crisis" meeting.

Arguably if you set the right ground rules for the meeting, have a clearly published agenda and hold people accountable for attending the meeting you could do it offsite. But sometimes it is better to elimiate as many distractions as possible.

But don't use offsites as some great groundbreaking strategy session, or culture change session. Workers in the company (at least at my company) will tend to feel that offsite meetings are really just a cushy way for executives to get out of the office an not really accomplish anything.

Offsite meetings should follow the same rules that any effective meeting follows (see the Effective Meetings series of podcasts)


kklogic's picture

We use off-sites quite a bit, actually. In my mind, the reason you do something outside of your building is to break people out of patterns of behavior. It's a tangible thing that says, "this is different than what we usually do."

I also disagree with teambuilding not working. We do it every quarter with the entire company during our company meeting. People gripe about going, but inevitably - you get to spend time with a co-worker you don't know very well and it's good for everyone. I've noticed the "C"s are the biggest gripers about these things :)

As to off-site meetings, we generally do them when we're discussing strategy. Sometimes it's a big, formal meeting --- other times, we go to a restaurant with a few people and brainstorm. It gets people out of patterns of relating to one another and opens them up quite a bit.