Beyond LocatioN: Factor 3

Feel Fresh

Factors that keep your offsite on-target
By: OCAD U CO

If you’re in charge of planning your team’s offsite, then I’ve got news for you: you work in experience design. Selecting the right space for your team’s offsite is step one in designing the optimal experience to get to the best outcomes for your organization. Here we offer four critical factors to think about—Focus, Flow, Fresh & Fun—to design an offsite experience that will help ensure success.

In this article we’ll look at how we can feel fresh when designing an optimal offsite experience.

Factor 3:

Feel Fresh

If flow is about managing transitions while reducing friction, keeping things fresh is about using space that promotes a sustainable level of energy and pace.

High ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows with full light-control, writable and movable walls and whiteboards, controlled, adjustable sound and complementary, adjacent spaces for private conversation, team breakout work, shared meals and celebrations as well as micro oases for personal downtime all do a lot to help keep the emotional register of your event at the right level for your team: openly engaged, positively contributing, and playing well with others long after the icebreaker has melted.

Whether your team’s moving from forming-to-performing or is driving-and-thriving, keeping the emotional energy where it needs to be is very much a function of the space you choose, and the features of that space, as outlined above. The bunker-like feeling of your typical conference room with baffled sound from stucco-ceilings and short-pile carpets may work for third weddings and open-bar office parties, but they will suck the energy of your high potential workshops long before the last cup of coffee is cold.

We like our space like we like our coffee: fresh.

OCAD U CO Waterfront Facility

“Beyond the room itself, when it comes to energy, you’ll want to choose a location that can provide a support team that best suits your needs.”

Beyond the room itself, when it comes to energy, you’ll want to choose a location that can provide a support team that best suits your needs. If the event space you choose does most of its business in bar mitzvahs and birthday parties, then choose them for your next birthday, but know that they may not have the needed empathy or expertise in-house to help you successfully facilitate your organization’s workshops.

Choose an event space—a business studio—that’s dedicated to helping organizations and teams like yours. Choose to work with people who are deeply and directly experienced with tackling the very challenges you’re addressing, who have hands-on expertise in helping companies and teams create the future, and choose a place that’s purpose-built to support teams like yours with the tools, process, facilitation, coaching and the coffee you may need to keep things fresh.

What Fresh looks like in action:

A team member from one of Canada’s leading financial-service providers shared her perspective of the difference between last year’s strategic offsite and her recent visit to our studios: “last year we were at a hotel that calls itself a ‘castle’ but we call their conference rooms ‘the dungeon.’ It’s dank. It’s dark. Frankly, it’s a dungeon. The worst part is that every other day I work in an office without access to windows—so I was utterly deflated to spend three days in a windowless conference room, sitting on a stackable hotel chair. It’s hard to feel good at the end of a day, never mind after three days. Worse, the common area outside our rooms was taken over by kids on spring break—I had to go outside to make a phone call. The Business Studio just makes sense. Having a view, plenty of breakout rooms, and cubby holes for personal downtime or even just phone calls made it easier getting through three days of a packed agenda.”

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