Planning A Retreat To Make Things Happen

May 22, 2019

In today’s world, people are busy amongst themselves and are running to fulfill their responsibilities of Family, Job, etc. all the time. Everyone is running behind success for which they neglect all the happiness that they can receive from their family members, co-workers and friends.
Now, to end up the stress that they produce in this day to day life, they start searching for different ways. Retreat is amongst those methods by which they can enjoy themselves and forget about the stress of their life for some time. But not many people know how to host a retreat. Many organizations organize a retreat for their employees which is for them to enjoy themselves as well as think for the organization but in a relax mode. This is a part of a strategy which organizations do for the benefit of both the employees and for the company.

Meaning of Retreat-
In Simple words, a retreat can be considered as a formal gathering of individuals to form a group where they can interact with each other on the topics which suit their common interest, purpose and motives.
Retreat is gathering up of like-minded people who have common thinking in any field. It can be an organization for which they are working, it can be that all are from the same field, it can be that they all play same sports, or it can be that they used to study in the same college.
A retreat can be treated as a vacation for a group, but the main purpose of this vacation is not just spending time in roaming here and there or spending time without any objective. If you organize a successful retreat, it may help in strengthening the bonds between people and put energy within them so that they can actively participate in accomplishing their goals and targets.

Purpose of a Retreat-
Retreat can be beneficial for staff members of an organization, members of a group who are looking forward to starting something new, Volunteers or even sometimes for people belonging to high society and having high status. Let’s now understand “why to organize a retreat” in detail as without this the topic, how to host a successful retreat is incomplete-

  • Removing the outside distractions of daily schedule- Working with the same schedule all year long can sometimes be a bit boring and can cause laziness and stress for some of the employees and even students. This happens with people mostly who want something new in their lifetime to time. In most of the organization, this is the only reason for most people switching their jobs from time to time as they want something new in their lives. Some new challenges and some new schedules. Companies lose their brilliant employees due to this reason only. Even giving them an offer of high salary does not motivate them to stay back. So, by retreats from time to time the organizations can switch the mood of their employees and it acts as a change in their daily schedule.
  • Helps in creating a sense of shared experience and bonding to help people to work better together- In our childhood days, we heard a story where a teacher gave a stick to a student to break it and he easily did that but when he gave him a bunch of stick he was not able to break that. This simply tells us that working together as a team helps a lot to everyone, be it an organization or any team event. In a retreat, people interact with each other in a better way and share their ideas with one another which creates a bond between them and the bond between them is a bond between the organization and employee as they all will then work towards achieving a goal set for them.
  • Key Problem solver- Retreat can sometimes be so refreshing that many of the key problems are seen getting solved after the retreat or even during the retreat. This all happens as the people participating in those retreats are joyful and are stress-free and we all know that problems cannot be solved when you are in stress, it can only be solved when you are at peace of your mind.

Organizing a successful retreat 
People want to organize retreats but the important question which lies in front of them is how to host a retreat. They fear of investing money into it as if it does not go in the right direction and if it does not meet the purpose then it is just a waste of money and time.
So, if we have a word with people interested in organizing retreats their biggest problem is how to host a retreat. There are thousands of articles on the internet telling you about how to host a retreat, but we are sure by reading this article and by following the steps that we will be telling you; you will get a clear idea on this.
Retreat is not a simple task and pre-planning of this is really very essential. Planning for this should take place 4 to 5 months prior to this. We will go step by step explaining to you what all you need to keep in mind before organizing a retreat and we are sure that by the end of this article you will be getting a clear picture in front of you as to how to organize a successful retreat. So now without wasting any more time further let’s begin on how to host a retreat.

Goals for the retreat should be set.
The most important thing that you should consider is to set up your goals for this retreat. You should have a clear idea of the goals for which you are organizing this retreat. Try to be more specific when setting up the goals of the retreat as a retreat without any specific goals is just a waste of time. Setting up some specific objective is always beneficial for these sorts of retreats.
Organizing a retreat can also have the following goals-

  • Problem Solving
  • Training/Orientation
  • Communication
  • Unity among the team.
  • Building up the team.
  • Learning

Start looking for places to organize this retreat-
If you are looking for a better place for organizing this retreat, then start contacting them and ask them to send the details in the form of brochures, Proforma Invoice so that you can plan the budget accordingly.
Talking to groups who earlier have organized such retreats will be an added advantage as they can give you a clear idea in all the things required for retreats. Try to organize these retreats in such places that are less expensive or even free as there are many places those who charge fewer fees or who can even provide their place for no cost. You should start searching for places 4-5 months before your retreat as if you do not do so it can be a nightmare for you to search or to book a place for your retreat.
People who will be attending
It's important to decide initially who will be participating in this retreat. Sometimes it may be for all the staff, sometimes it may include only some special people and sometimes only the board of directors. If you are clear on the goals to be achieved by this retreat, then this will facilitate you in deciding who will be participating in it. You can even book a great poet, musician or a motivator so that this retreat becomes memorable to all the people attending and participating in this retreat. This completely depends on your budget and the event size you are planning. Inviting these kinds of notable personalities to the retreat can sometimes turn the tables around for you as the people attending the retreat will get a surprise by meeting and by listening to these notable personalities. For this also you need to plan a lot as these types of famous people are booked for many events before one year. Also, you need to book several meetings with them to decide their fees and their availability.
Time of Retreat
After setting up the goals of your retreat then look for how much time will be consumed to reach these goals. You should always try to stretch the time of your retreat so that people involved in it can have fun all around and so that they can spend much time with each other. Try to stretch the retreat for at least one or two days.

Retreat Dates
Choosing dates for the retreat in one of the crucial decisions that must be made by the organizer. When you are deciding on the dates, it is really very important to keep this in mind that all the people attending the retreat are available on those dates and that it fits their schedule. Example: do not put retreat on a religious holiday. Weekends are best to organize retreats and if there are some issues on weekends, then you can even go for weekdays. You should also know about the day to day activities of retreat participants that might affect the whole of your retreat. Organizing retreat on a day of the Co-Worker wedding day is never a good idea for example.
Preliminary Budget for Retreat-
Managing the budget for the retreat is an essential thing for having a successful retreat. You must plan thoroughly for this as one thing wrong in the budget can spoil whole of your retreat. You should make a rough budget that should include the expense that you will be doing for the retreat. This should potentially include the price for booking a place for your retreat, price to be incurred in accommodation and night stays (If applicable), Food, transportation facilities, fees to be given to motivating speaker or any famous personality that you are inviting etc. Discuss this with your team members who are helping you with the retreat. Put your proposal in front of them that in which activity how much budget you want to spend and ask them to give their inputs on the same. As organizing a successful retreat is teamwork combining the efforts of the whole of your team, you cannot neglect your team members in this.

Getting More Hands for work
It depends on the scale of retreat. As per this, you may decide to get a handful of people for this task. If the retreat is small, then even one person may easily handle this. So firstly decide on what sort of retreat is this and then decide on how many people you require to manage this out. Assign equal responsibilities to each and every individual as per their caliber.
Rough schedule for retreat.
You must build a rough schedule for your retreat in which you have to do the planning of the events that will be taking place in the retreat. Firstly, you have to figure it out what all activities you will be keeping in your retreat and what timing you will be giving to each of the activities. The activities that achieve the goal of the retreat can be given more time than other activities. It might happen that in the retreat that you are organizing people might not be aware of each other so you must put some activities in between that removes the difference between the individuals and they know each other in a better way. You must ensure that you give ample amount of break and free time in between the activities in the schedule so that the people do not treat this retreat as hectic.
Reserving a site-
Reserving a site is an important step for the retreat as this may build your retreat or it can destroy your retreat. So, go for a good site.

Summary
Retreat is simply not bringing people together, but it is bringing people together for a purpose. Retreat can be beneficial for gearing up the individuals and to refresh them from all day to day stresses they have in their lives. So, plan yourself well ahead in terms of budget, people involved in it, place etc. so that you can really organize a refreshing and meaningful retreat which is remembered by all in years to come.
 

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