“When people are free to choose where in the world they want to work, they simply enjoy their day-to-day work more.” — Brian De Haff, CEO of Aha
The internal Staff Shop team has just returned from paradise. Everyone is sunkissed, relaxed and invigorated with a new energy for 2024! When planning our first annual retreat, we knew that we wanted to reward our staff for a job well-done, but also provide them with new tools that will help us work together to make this year our most successful yet.
Our remote work business model has been with us from the start. One of our core values is “Freedom,” and with that we wanted to create a working environment that allows our team members the freedom to work from anywhere. Our retreat was a celebration of this and evidence that you can be productive from anywhere. We wanted to create an inspirational getaway that would include professional development, team building, free time and fun in the sun!
This is how we created value and mutual ROI for our team.
The Strategic Itinerary
Our destination was Santa Teresa, Costa Rica (aka Pura Vida) – a magical beach town in one of the world’s 5 Blue Zones. The retreat was named “One Love” in the spirit of our 2024 battle cry. It embodied truth, healing and peace which resulted in a stronger, more bonded and cohesive team.
Without going into every detail, this is what we accomplished during our week in paradise!
- Welcome dinner and icebreaker games
- Daily morning ayurvedic yoga as a team
- Daily professional development sessions
- A challenging jungle hike to Montezuma Falls
- Various meals shared together
- Surfing lesson with Pocket Wave
- Women’s R.A.D. (self-defense) class
- Volunteering for beach cleanup with Waterkeeper
- Team bonding time
- Cocktail party night hosted by our very own Staffing Concierge team
- Coworking and email catchup time
- Plenty of free time to enjoy the beauty of Santa Teresa
- Farewell dinner and calls to action for 2024
How You Can Make this Happen for Your Team
Did you know that 45% of workers said they would stay at a company longer if there were more professional development and learning opportunities? Offering these opportunities to your staff will benefit your business and teams in the long-run because employees will come out of it more unified and engaged than before.
For an outsider looking in, this trip might seem extravagant and unattainable. But the truth is, with smart, careful planning you, too, can plan a meaningful retreat without breaking the bank. Here are some of Staff Shop’s tips and tricks to organizing such an event:
- Use points – If you collect travel points through a corporate credit card, you can use those to cover flight and accommodation costs.
- Plan ahead – If you’re planning for 2025, start now! Research remote work destinations that offer a wide range of services that will suit your needs.
- Spend your money wisely – Book activities that are sure to yield juicy fruit. You want to get the most value out of a trip like this as opposed to having everyone lounge around aimlessly – and our staff expressed gratitude for not trekking down there without a plan.
Staff Shop Testimonials
“I feel inspired by the entirety of it and am in tears constantly this week missing it.” – Staffing Manager
“My daughter having a blast and overcoming a few of her fears was amazing. Meeting and spending time with my co-workers was another level experience providing me a different perspective on how I engage with them now.” – Accounting Manager
“I truly enjoyed the sessions, especially the master class. I loved learning about the one percent rule, and making habits and systems. I also really loved hiking up to that waterfall. It was breathtaking.” – Relationship Manager
“It is very hard for me to choose as so much happened on this retreat. I learned that I am capable of more than I think I am. Before this retreat, I had a lot of self-doubt professionally and personally. Through physical activities (like Surfing), the daily gratitude journals, and our workshops, I realized that I need to stop saying all the hurtful things I say about myself (words and thoughts matter)! Professionally, we grew stronger as a team and heard what each person struggled with with their work and how they were going to overcome it. I feel like we are a tight team that will win in 2024 because of this retreat!”- Staffing Director
“The retreat’s most meaningful part for me, both personally and professionally, was the genuine connections with colleagues. From chatting on a log after we conquered the waves, to moments of expressing vulnerability and resting in the shade. An honest discussion with apologies, these unscripted interactions were impactful. They not only strengthened our bonds but also contributed to my personal growth and professional growth of our team.” – Relationship Manager
“As a believer and evangelist in the benefits of real remote work, I feel like we really accomplished something in proving that you don’t have to force people into an office in order to max out productivity – rather, the opposite is true! There is a real difference between “work from home” and “work remotely” and I hope that our story helps inspire others to trust that when you put true team synergy and valuable learning opportunities above geographical control, amazing things happen for business.” – COO
“A vision and dream come true. I’ve been putting this off for years and for various excuses we can easily make up as a busy business. I will not miss the opportunity to keep this level of meaningful momentum up again. Our goal is now four retreats per year – one every quarter! I have never seen our team in this light. My heart is full.” – Founder & CEO
Where Will We Go Next?
We asked the team where they would like to go next. Here are some of the answers:
- Cayman Islands
Hire Us to Help Plan Your Retreat!
If you want help planning your team’s professional development retreat, contact Staff Shop today! We love this type of work. We can also incorporate the Core Values Index™ – a core value assessment tool we use as Canada’s Master Distributor to better understand what a person values most and how best to lift them up to their highest level of contribution on Earth.
Interested in Travel? Check out our past blog on our team’s destination recommendations!