Visual Composer spring camp retrospective or how to plan a team building event everyone will enjoy

Are you on a duty to plan an awesome team building event? Do you need some advice and real-life insight to gain great ideas? You are in the right place then! Reserve ten minutes of your precious time and find out the essence of an effective team gathering through a flashback of Visual Composer’s team building adventure!

A sneak peek… It was fun! 😉

From my experience, I have the right to say that team building events are an incredibly effective way to increase your company’s companionship, prosper more creative relationships and improve communication. However, to ensure your event is productive and effective, it is vital to plan it ahead. Keep reading to know how…

What is team building event?

Team building event is a great activity to build understanding and synergy among colleagues through a social gathering. It helps to focus the bunch of people on a common goal thus aligning towards the company’s values, culture, and mission.

Quite often these events are hosted out of the office, outdoors or in the guest houses, providing an environment where your team can learn to work together through the interaction of work and fun activities.

The goal of every team building event is different, ours certainly turned out to bring the team together and establish the bond between the teammates. And, of course, we kept on creating and launched an awesome element! What was it? Read further and you will find it out!

Why should you plan a team building event?

Employees are the foundation of business to become successful and wealthy in its performance. One of the main goals is to make the team work together, and it doesn’t matter that you meet your colleagues every day in the office, you still need a different perspective to brainstorm a way to joint success.

There are also a great number of benefits in this, all of which can be powerful methods of improving your businesses success and building a healthy environment in your office life. To name few of the benefits:

Build a strong team – there will always be something to improve even in the friendliest and strongest teams. Team building event lets you step out of your comfort zone and work with the areas that ask for attention – with a fair purpose, didactic goals and well-chosen activities that will help to achieve the goals.

Be proactive and take an action – it would be so cool to have a ‘take an action’ key on your keyboard to act whenever in need. In reality, it’s all little itsy-bitsy with possible upcoming challenges within the team in terms of communication. A team building event is a great opportunity to close your laptops and mute the phones to become proactive about the things you or others would like to talk about.

Share the same experience – one thing is to meet your team at the workspace, but it’s quite another experience to meet these people in a neutral atmosphere where the day starts with a morning coffee, continues with the dinner at the restaurant and ends with a board game tournament. Team building event is a great way to do more things together, create own memories and jokes to use them back in the office life.

Consider the main touch points below and plan a great event for your team to experience togetherness!

Pre-planning phase

Before going through the planning stage, I suggest thinking of crucial things first, such as time period, venue, budget, and a format of your team building event.

Duration of the event – whether it is a day, two days or how it was in our case – a whole week, it is essential to make this work for everyone. If your retreat is planned as a day out of an office, make sure to plan it on a working day (no matter how friendly you are, try not to take each other’s weekend for a work-related event). If you plan two or three days, make sure they also are on the weekdays, plus – start thinking of a venue! If you consider a whole week like Visual Composer team did, make sure to bring up the topic two months ahead for people to prepare for all meanings, including to book a weekend.

Venue – if you really want to make your event rock, it is important to find the venue that offers everything your team needs and wishes for. It can be challenging to find the right place that has all of your team requirements, specifics and conditions such as seasons and the weather. However, it is not impossible if you follow these few simple steps:

  • Browse through the most popular accommodation platforms (e.g. Booking, Airbnb) – they have thousands of great offers to choose from;
  • If possible, choose a warm season or a place closer to the south (how fun it would be to have this kind of event abroad?);
  • Make sure the venue has a good location, it should be easy to reach a grocery store or a nice coffee shop;
  • Think about a privacy your colleagues would want during the event – choose a place that has enough rooms for everyone to have his own;
  • Pay attention if and what kind of extra rooms the venue has – does it have a conference room, chillout area, playroom, or a  kitchen? List down your needs and filter the best offers for your team to have an awesome experience.

Format – the format of the event determines the atmosphere. If the event involves the “invention of a new bicycle”, then it must be taken into account that the atmosphere must be fairly formal and result oriented. Conversely, if the format of the event is more entertaining, then it can be rooted in a fun atmosphere accompanied by music, games and outdoor activities.

Budget – when creating an event budget, consider to include: venue cost, food, entertainment, and unplanned expenses. Remember that team members of your company will be out of the daily routine and that’s why it is important to cover costs of their meal at least once a day, plus take care of other unplanned expenses that can build up on the spot. For such event as a team building, it is not easy to predict the exact amount of expenses, so it is important you have planned a flexible amount of money to cover unplanned, spontaneous expenses.

Pre-planning phase at Visual Composer

At Visual Composer, we started with an idea followed by a choice about the place, duration of the event and the venue. 80% of the colleagues were positive about the fact and accepted the challenge to spend seven days together! The other 20% are the nice guys who stayed in the office supervising everything, so we thank them!

For this and other communication, we use well-known platform Slack. We are a team of 12 people, so it is comfortable to keep us virtually active in both – work-related things and keep being funny throughout the day. So when the duration was set, we searched for the place on Airbnb and were lucky to find a perfect one that met all our expectations – 9 private rooms, a big working room that transformed into a lounge room straight after 6 pm, cozy veranda, ping pong room and even a Finnish sauna!

The format of our event was easy-going, having one product launch set as the main goal apart from sharing the same experience and building a stronger bond among the teammates. If there was a challenge in pre-planning phase, then it was FOOD! It is not easy to find one compromise when there are nine ‘I am not eating this and that’ experts in your team, but hey – we did great after all because we planned it ahead with a smile! 🐠

Conversation on the Slack
Slack screenshot – Visual Composer team discussing the food

As you can see – a real challenge! 😅

Now when you have done the pre-planning phase, it’s time to jump to the fun part – plan activities and set a realistic workload to develop, update or launch an interesting project.

Focus on one main task

Be realistic, team building is a lively event with an increased amount of fun, which is likely to mean much less productive than working at the office. However, it is important to set the main goal – a task or a project you as a team wish to get done. Remember, one of the benefits of the team building is working together – the goal will help the team stay in focus thus being together for a common success!

Whether you choose to continue with a project that has been started in advance or create a brand new idea, both ways will lead you to result and satisfaction. Here are few ideas for projects you could do in your team building event:

  • Film a video to interact with your clients and followers;
  • Give answers to most frequently asked questions via a blog post or a live video;
  • Develop a new product idea and if possible, also the product itself;
  • Do a market research in your niche to gain a broader view of discovering new business opportunities;
  • Organize a photo-shooting of your team and individuals – it will be useful for your company’s portfolio;

Projects to what Visual Composer focused on

As our team building event lasted for a whole week, we had enough time to complete two independent projects:

One of the projects was focused on developing and then launching an awesome new element Global Templates – an add-on that lets you place pre-built templates (e.g. contact information, hero section, header, footer etc.) as independent elements on your pages.

The second project was us filming a “Questions & Answers” video session where part of the Visual Composer team was reviewing actual topics asked by Visual Composer Community members.

How did it go? Well, first we reached out to our clients and followers asking them to post questions to be answered by our team. This was approximately two weeks before the event, so we had time to collect topics ahead. Then we made a video session answering top questions. Go ahead, watch the video below and see for yourself. Plus, meet a part of Visual Composer team! 🙂

If you would like to know more about Visual Composer Website Builder, join the official community here or follow us on Facebook. We are always happy to receive questions, suggestions, and bits of advice from our customers!

Let’s continue with planning your team building event. The next step is very crucial for the event to be interesting, unforgettable and fun to everyone who’s part of it. Activities!

Have fun activities!

Activities are the key to team union – they make people communicate, laugh, decide and spend time together. The activities can be all kind, from sporty to educational, from arty to extreme or from adventurous to relaxing.

The types of activities to have during the team building event are the following:

  • Board games – a type of activity that always works at least for some people. Make sure to bring different types of games for people to choose from;
  • Cooking classes – another fun way to spend a time together making exotic meals together.
  • Visiting an event – an outdoor concert, a bike tour, SPA center or a local bakery – find an interesting happening around you and bring fun in the air;
  • Have lunch/dinner together – choose the main chef (one or two persons from the organization) who will make lunch for the whole team;
  • Exploring the city – you can go on a Scavenger Hunt and look at the city at once;

Fun activities Visual Composer team did

The place, the guest house, and the weather were so suitable for our team’s event that it complimented all the event by the default. We managed to complete the two projects and have fun activities on a daily basis. From preparing a lunch together, and exploring the village with four-seat surrey bikes, to common dinner, board game and ping-pong tournaments.

team building event
Visual Composer Team Building Flashback

All week long we had certain colleagues cooking lunch for all the team. Chicken curry, pasta bolognese, chili con carne, and baked bananas with chocolate dipped ice-cream. Yammy! Evenings we spent out having the nicest dinner at local restaurants, bringing up interesting topics about life, leaving job topics behind.

We were lucky to have a ping-pong table at our place, it was always busy and fulfilled with bubbling energy. The culmination of the week was a whole day in the spa center where we were attending multiple saunas, riding down the slides, and enjoying a fun atmosphere. Certainly, Visual Composer team building turned out to be like a small holiday for all of us, so now we are back in the saddle to create new things for our clients to have more awesome features for their websites!

Back in routine

Be sure to enjoy the togetherness in this kind of experiences because each event will eventually end when employees have to return to work. Bring up the creativity, encourage others to join in, prepare well but not too tight to have flexibility for unique moments.

What’s the outcome? Good energy vibes, more smiles, better relationships among the teammates, and brand new jokes, understandable only for those who spent time together in a neutral atmosphere.

An emoji dedication to my beloved colleagues: 🐜🔔🐘 … 🍍🍇

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