Sponsored Content

Take it Outside: Five top trends for corporate retreats in BC

5 Productive corporate retreats in BC The idea of spending good money to shut down and have employees "play around" outside the office is anathema to many businesses. How can a company possibly justify that sort of expense?


BCBusiness + The PNE

The idea of spending good money to shut down and have employees “play around” outside the office is anathema to many businesses. How can a company possibly justify that sort of expense?

The question those businesses should be actually asking themselves is: How can they not?

Multiple studies have shown that corporate culture and workplace morale have a huge impact on the bottom line. Motivated and engaged employees are more productive. Better productivity means better business. It’s simple math, folks.

When it comes to team building, it’s all about off-site retreats — the more unique and engaging the better. In-office training by guest speakers or productivity gurus just doesn’t cut it for a variety of reasons. No one looks forward to a mandatory seminar under buzzing fluorescent cafeteria lightbulbs, but a day spent prepping a BBQ, riding roller coasters or doing good deeds? Most professionals would rather be energized than lectured to.

Retreats aren’t just outward-bound, survivalist-style forest adventures where the accounting department tries to follow a compass and the sales team goes Lord of the Flies. Today’s retreats are fun, sophisticated and often feature activities designed by professional development specialists that can get people thinking differently and solving problems in new ways. This makes these retreats valuable on both an individual and a corporate level.

Here are our top picks for the most exciting and adventurous corporate retreats in the province. See what can happen with a well-spent day off!


1. Lasertag attack

The more futuristic (and much less messy) digital counterpart to paintball is trending again, and for good reason. Obviously, running around in the dark trying to zap your co-workers has some serious stress-busting benefits, but there’s more to it than that. To the savvy manager, Laser Tag also offers a platform for better understanding institutional strengths and weaknesses, solidifying teamwork and evaluating leadership qualities for potential promotions. How else are you going to find your next “straight shooter”? Victoria’s Laser City Fun Centre and Planet Laser, with locations in Abbotsford, Kelowna and Metro Vancouver, offer corporate packages.


2. All the world’s a stage

Sometimes you need to flip the script in order to succeed. Sometimes you need to lose it entirely. When the rules change from day-to-day, your team needs to find creative solutions. No one turns lemons to lemonade as consistently as an improv actor. For over 20 years, the Vancouver TheatreSports League has been at the vanguard of corporate training with classes aimed at unleashing creativity, improving presentation skills, team building and frontline customer service skills. Laughing is serious business!


3. Now you’re cookin’

At Tall Order Culinary Team Building, there’s no such thing as too many cooks. In fact, that’s the name of their most popular program in Vancouver. Designed for groups of six to 300, it’s a competitive cooking arena where everyone is encouraged to break a few eggs, learn some new skills and get to know their fellow team members in a fun and positive atmosphere. Big bonus: Once you’ve completed the retreat, you’ll know whose homemade cookies are worth a trip to the break room.


4. Ride the roller coaster!

Even the most dedicated employees find their focus challenged when summer’s calling. Make the most of the season (and their motivation) at Playland with the PNE Vancouver’s corporate packages. Think: catered BBQ’s in private picnic areas, unlimited access to over 30 rides and attractions, and special perks like must-have mini donuts and colourful cotton candy. Companies with over 1,000 employees to entertain can rent out the entire park! Now you know why Playland hosts over 80 corporate events each summer with a retention rate of over 70 per cent. We’d wager a bet your HR department can’t beat that.


Credit: Craig Hodge

5. Give back and do good

A good deed is its own reward, but it also gives your employees a massive self-esteem boost. One of the latest trends in corporate retreats is “Play It Forward,” an app-driven competition where teams are challenged to do good deeds for others. (Plus, it finally makes using the company-issued cellphone a fun activity!) Part scavenger hunt, part philanthropy and 100 per cent teamwork, a day of helping others promises to leave a positive impression. For a custom-built event, Canadian Outback Adventures is your go-to for doing good.


Created by BCBusiness in partnership with The PNE