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A few weeks back, Team HC hit the road to the picturesque Hunter Valley for a three day offsite. Many might think – how much work can you actually do in the wine region? Well, we think we struck the perfect balance of work and play – and now I’m going to share what worked well for us in case you’re thinking of planning an offsite soon.

Striking the right balance

We always knew we wanted some fun activities (and of course a wine tour) thrown into the mix. We were celebrating our 21st year, but we didn’t want to waste the chance of getting away from our desks, into a different environment and mindset, to see what insights we could uncover for the business. Over the three days, each morning started with a two-hour business session, which was just enough to digest everything before the fun started.

We didn’t lose energy from being stuck in a stuffy room all day writing on whiteboards and post its, and it also gave us time to sit with the insights we uncovered to let them percolate.

Tailoring your sessions

Each business session had a different purpose and there was a mix of external and internal presenters. In our first session we went behind the social/digital comms curtain to learn from an expert working in a similar but adjacent field. We took away loads of tips and tricks – it’s an area we know is always evolving and we want to stay ahead of as we look to evolve our own offerings.

The second day was more of an internally focussed session, where we recentered in on who we are as a business, what our vision, mission and values are and what our five-year plan is for continued growth. Finally on the last day we had industry thought leader, Chris Savage of The Savage Company, join us virtually to really get us thinking what does a successful agency of the future look like – and how will we as a team work together to get us there?

The learning here? A mix of internally led and externally led sessions really worked, with some looking at big picture ideas, and others giving you some learnings you can implement right away.

Set yourself up for success

Once you’ve done the hard work, and BEFORE you reward yourself with a wine tour or a five-course lunch, make sure while most of it is fresh, you note your immediate next steps. You don’t want all that good energy and insights you’ve captured in your offsite to go to waste – if you all have at least one simple next step that is achievable, then it can keep you on track and keep the momentum moving.

So, if you’re planning a staff offsite soon – make sure you get the mix right, but just don’t each as much food as we did.