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6 great team building retreat ideas for remote teams

Elena Crnalic

Team Building Expert & Marketer

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Free

30 min

no prep

3-10

Share fun facts and bond with a team quiz

Have your participants choose from a list of questions they’d like their coworkers to answer about them, before watching as they guess the right answer.

Free

30 min

no prep

3-10

Run a guided recognition activity

Have your participants choose from a list of questions they’d like their coworkers to answer about them, before watching as they guess the right answer.

$$

90 min

medium prep

2-10

Organize a virtual cooking class

Have your participants choose from a list of questions they’d like their coworkers to answer about them, before watching as they guess the right answer.

$$$

30 min

low prep

up to 1000

Hire a stand-up comedian

Have your participants choose from a list of questions they’d like their coworkers to answer about them, before watching as they guess the right answer.

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Team building retreats are a great way to gather your remote team, spend a few days away from the home office, work on relationships, and create new memories together as a team. They are also a great way to come up with some fresh new ideas and work on the company's bones.

To help you organize your next in-person meet-up, we have created a list of our favorite top 6 team building retreat ideas.

For more ideas for large groups, continue here. If you're also developing workshops for your retreat, check out this piece.

What to do before your next retreat

Planning and goal setting are your two best friends for organizing your next team building retreat. Depending on the size of your team, there might be less or more planning involved. However, to make your retreat a successful one, it is vital to have clear goals in mind; what do you want to achieve during your team building retreat, and what do you need to do to achieve these goals? Picking the activity deeply relies on the purposes of your retreat, so make sure to start planning well in advance. But do not forget, team building retreats are also about having fun and creating beautiful memories together.

What your weekly plan could look like

Each year, twice a year, Gomada organizes team building retreats. We like to call it a ‘pop-up office’. What has helped us the most is having a detailed plan for the week during our team building retreat. This plan makes sure that all of our goals are being fulfilled and that we are giving our team the best possible experience. Plus, managing a big group of people can be a little bit tricky, right? 

Here is a rough plan during a team building retreat, which has worked like a charm for us: 

Day 1: Arrival & welcome

Use this day for everyone to arrive and settle in. No activities planned.

Day 2: Team activity 1 

Choose one of the team building retreat activities from the list below. For example, biking or painting. 

Day 3: Plans and projections for the year, plus a team building day

Create a presentation with plans and projections for this year. Also, a great way to answer any questions and concerns from the team to manage the change. You can pair up this day with another team building activity from the list below or invite an external team building agency.

Day 4: A retrospective and functional day

Great way to get your functional teams to reflect on what has been working well so far and the areas for improvement. Teams can also use this day to plan out goals and targets for the rest of the year or come up with new ideas for the rest of the year.

Day 5: Cross-functional day and a team building activity

This is a perfect time to work on specific topics in a cross-functional group (e.g., implementing AI in your product, partnerships, and community, etc.). You can use the second half of the day for another team building activity, such as hiking. 

Day 6 and 7: Co-working

Rent out some desks at a co-working space and enjoy working together as a team.

List of team building retreat activities

Now that you have your goals and a daily plan set in place, it is time to pick out a suitable activity to match your goals. Whether your goal is to work on interpersonal relationships, better group work skills, or creativity, we have a suitable activity for you!

1. Hiking 

Let's face it. Hiking is not necessarily an easy outdoor activity. It requires strength and strong determination. This is why hiking is one of the best retreat team building activities. Hiking will push you to provide and receive support, encouragement, and understanding from other team members. You are in it together and have to rely on each other to make it to the finish line. 

By the end of the activity, your team will create a more robust and deeper bond and learn to rely on each other for support when things get tough. Some great learnings to take back to the office with you. Not to mention, hiking is a great way to explore the outdoors and create some long-lasting memories. 

Our tip: Before you plan your hike, check the weather prognosis and pack loads of liquid and some snacks. 

2. Biking 

E-biking has recently become very popular as a team building activity for retreats. Wherever you decide to host your team building retreat, there will probably be a vendor providing local e-bike tours. Like hiking, biking can be a challenging sport, especially for those not used to biking. Hence, team members need to support and rely on each other; when things get tough, like making it up that last big hill, team members need to encourage each other. Plus, biking is a great spin on traditional tours. You can explore your retreat area by biking, learn something new, and enjoy the magnificent views and surroundings. 

Our tip: If you have a retreat outside of your home country or state, why not make a lunch stop at a local restaurant? This would give your team a chance to taste some local cuisine and explore the local culture. 

3. Wine tasting

In our previous blog post, we have written about why virtual wine tasting is an excellent form of a team building activity; it is an out-of-the-box idea for a team event and allows your team to have fun and relax. This is why wine tasting is a perfect idea for your next team building retreat. Of course, it all depends on where you will hold your next team building retreat. However, if you plan to visit a place where you can find vineyards in the vicinity, it would be worth seeing a local winemaker and giving your team a tremendous and unforgettable wine tasting activity. Wine tastings are fun and allow your team to learn something new in a relaxed atmosphere. 

Our tip: Some wineries also do wine tasting specifically for team building, so don't forget to ask for such options when organizing your team activity. 

4. Cooking class

Like wine tasting, a cooking class is another great way to explore local culture and cuisine. Food brings people together, making it a perfect retreat team building idea. Cooking classes are not only about creating new memories together and having a good time but also about developing brand new skills. Cooking pushes you to think outside the box, innovate, improvise when needed, and sometimes do the things you have never done before. All these skills are crucial for the team and the company to function; hence it is a perfect activity to get your team to sharpen those skills. 

To organize a local cooking class, you can contact the local team building company providers. They usually have contacts with local chefs who offer cooking classes. Another option is to check out Airbnb experiences. They also provide various team building activities, including cooking classes. 

Our tip: If the meals are more challenging to prepare, a great option is to create smaller groups to work together. This is an excellent opportunity for teams that don't usually interact, to work together as a group. 

5. Painting

How many times did you have to use your creativity and improvisation to overcome a specific problem in the workplace? Using creativity to solve issues at work is imperative, no matter what function you are a part of. This is why painting is one of the best team building activities for retreats. The artist will show your team the picture to paint during a painting class, plus some tips and tricks on creating the best painting possible. However, actual sketching and mixing of the colors will be left to the individual, forcing them to use their imagination as much as possible. You can see a painting class as a form of creativity training. 

Our tip: Some companies also offer collaborative painting classes, where teams must use negotiation and communication to paint the desired image. Inquire for such an option with your preferred painting class provider. 

6. Karaoke

Karaoke is an excellent way for your team to step out of their comfort zone, bond, and get to know each other better. Plus, it is a lot of fun! This activity will allow your team to let off some steam, have fun together, and create long-lasting memories. This is one of the easiest team building retreat activities to organize; all you need to do is contact a local karaoke bar, book a private booth and invite your team. Some team building companies also offer songwriting competitions, followed by an evening of karaoke, which is a great way to spark some creativity amongst your team. 

Our tip: Why not create a Spotify playlist and allow your team members to add their favorite songs? You can then sing the songs from the playlist at the karaoke! Great way to get your team excited for the activity. 

Importance of team building retreats

Team building retreats are a great way to get to know your colleagues in a relaxed setting. It is also an excellent way to experience something new and create great memories. While working from home is awesome, it is always lovely to meet in person as a team and hone skills essential for a healthy team to function in a remote setting. 

We hope you enjoyed this article and that you were able to find a team activity to suit your needs and goals for your next retreat. If you are looking for some more team building ideas, check out our blog post about online team building activities, problem solving team building activities, communication team building activities, free virtual team building activities, work team building activities, and leadership team building activities.

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