I’ve been working online since 2013. At first, it was for an all-remote company, which was cutting edge at the time, though it’s totally normal now. Then I started working for myself, and I have been working from my home office ever since.
It’s really interesting how much I like it and how much I get done, but also what I miss from in-person connecting.
For most of us, virtual meetings and work have become a way of life over the past couple of years. The pandemic has limited in-person gatherings, and it can be easy to forget what we gain from face-to-face interaction.
The Power Of In-Person Connection
My business partner Emma and I went on a work retreat recently. Before the end of the retreat, we had even more retreats planned because we got so much done! It saved us so much back and forth that we would have encountered working over Zoom and from different times zones.
There is so much power in in-person connecting!
A conversation that might have taken three hours over email can be completed in 15-minutes. Not only is it quicker, but we can read each other’s energy. We don’t have to wonder if the other person is in the right mental space or if their focus is on something else.
We also had the opportunity to spend a lot of the day outside, which was a wonderful way to boost our spirits.
We did some intense work in the morning, took a long break in the middle of the day, and then did more intense work in the late afternoon. Then we were able to do something fun in the evening.
We can go so much farther the more often we are together. However, we probably aren’t going to get to the point where it makes sense to live in the same state. We currently live in entirely different parts of the country.
But, it just reaffirmed the fact that regularly meeting in person is so important.
After our retreat, I know exactly what we will work on for the next quarter, and we can track our progress from there.
Planning Your Retreat
If you have a team, I highly recommend meeting with them in person as much as is realistic. If you work alone, plan a few days each quarter to take a break from your usual routines and step away to think about your future goals and what you need to do moving forward.
Regardless of the size of your team, here are some tips we took away from planning our retreat.
For the weeks leading up to our retreat, we both thought about and kept track of topics we wanted to discuss.
This was very helpful as we planned out what we were going to work through, and it is something I plan to keep doing in the time before our next retreat.
Keep A List
We organized these topics in a Google Doc so we could easily share it.
Now we will spend time going through our list, implementing our ideas, and putting them into action in the places they need to go, such as a client deliverable, our website, or a checklist in our project management tool.
Have A Brainstorming Session
We also spent some time brainstorming. Here are just a few of the questions we went over to give you some ideas:
- What are we working on currently?
- What are the different services we provide, and how are they performing?
- Where do we want to go from here?
- How do we help our clients more effectively?
We tracked our answers to these questions and organized them into tasks or ideas that we can work on going forward.
If you can make an in-person work retreat a priority for your business in the future, I encourage you to do so. We can get so stuck in response mode when working virtually in our home offices that we begin to lose something.
If you are interested in learning more about how we set this up and the template we used, I’d love to talk to you!