What is an Away Day and what’s the point?
An Away Day is time set aside out of the office where you get together as a team to meet, plan and discuss important longer-term goals and direction of your business.
At Digital Technology Labs, we decided that it would be valuable to us to spend time away from the day to day buzz of the office, away from distracting phone calls and endless emails, to spend concentrated time on future planning and strategising for the business.
To make the most of the day, as we were spending a whole day ‘out of the office’, we had a planned timeline of the day, which we did mostly stick to (yay us!). This helped us spend our energy and attention on the tasks and discussions at hand rather than being distracted.
So why spend precious business time on an Away Day?
With so much to do in the office, it can be easy to get focussed on just getting through the daily tasks and forget the big picture. It’s good, from time to time, to take a step back and refocus on what that bigger picture is, see where you are, where you’ve come from and where you want to go in the future.
It’s great to move away from those distractions and take a chance to celebrate successes, move on from losses, re-bond as a team (great if you’re like us and spend a lot of your time working remotely), and create an environment where ideas can be openly discussed and developed.
I don’t know about you but sometimes my best ideas come out of group discussions, with team members riffing off one another to come up with some real gems.
How we structured our day
The first half of the day
Firstly, when planning we decided on RHS Hyde Hall as the perfect place, to be out in the open in such a beautiful and inspiring space was exciting. The English weather laughed at our plans though and decided to chuck it down, so we had to quickly rethink our plans.
We were lucky to be able to book a small conference room last minute at Space 282 in Leigh-on-Sea. With a rustic look and all amenities covered we were able to get on with our day.
We kicked off the day with a wonderful relaxation and mindfulness session with Jennifer from Better Your Life. She took us through some desk yoga and relaxation methods as well as the wonderful power pose, which we have decided to do before our regular Monday meetings to kick off the day in the right way. Thank you, Jennifer, we really enjoyed your session and advice.
We planned the day and allowed time for team members to feed back on some relevant training they had recently. I was able to spend half an hour feeding back about some Instagram training I recently had. Hollie also spoke about some training she had had on marketing, which was great.
The second half of the day
After a lunch break and a quick walk around outside to refresh (although we were quick because, you know, rain) we carried on for the afternoon session.
We used this time to really focus on the business. Where we want it to go, what our ideal clients look like and how we should be targeting them, best use of our time going forward, etc.
We all found this session to be completely open in our discussion style, all ideas were valid and listened to and we came up with some great solutions. We really bonded as a team and it was reassuring, or maybe we just reaffirmed, that we were all on the same page with how we viewed the business, each other’s contributions and how we saw the business progress into the future. All in all, it was a worthwhile way to spend our day.
Any final thoughts?
It can be daunting to take time away from the office, even for one day, but the results, if properly planned, will be absolutely worth it and great for you, your team and your business in the long run.
What are your thoughts? Has your business tried anything like it, and how did it go? I’d love to hear about your experiences!