May 1st, 2017
Company away-days can take many forms, from a simple meeting in a different office to a themed outing for staff such as a day spent paintballing or racing round your nearest go-kart track. But the big question is, are they a good idea for SMEs, or could they sometimes create more problems than they solve?
Basepoint, one of the leading suppliers of serviced offices in the UK, has a community of licensees involved in many different types of business. We take an interest in all issues affecting small businesses, and here we will look at the pros and cons of taking your SME staff out of the office for the day.
Advantages of Away-days
Away-days offer all members of staff the chance to meet face to face rather than down the phone or via email. They also mean colleagues can see each other in a more relaxed light by being in a different environment, often out in the open air. Popular options can include everything from water sports and treasure hunts to chocolate making.
As a result, employees could end up appreciating each other, and what they do for your business, far more. This should lead to a more integrated team. After working together in a team-building atmosphere, the aim is that staff will be even keener to support each other in their daily work too, hopefully leading to greater productivity and profits.
A trip enjoyed by staff could also save, or make, your SME more money in the long run. Recruiting and training new employees can be an expensive, time-consuming business. If your existing staff are happy with their role in the company, then they are less likely to want to move on and you won’t face the task of finding replacements. Also, contented employees are more likely to accept and embrace change, which is vital for all companies.
If discussion time is built into your away day, it could offer the chance to have a look at how your SME is doing and how it can improve. You could take the opportunity to discuss new, long-term objectives and also focus on individual needs and priorities.
One of the main problems with away-days, themed or not, is that there will inevitably be backlog of calls, emails and administration to get through when you get back. SMEs are more likely to feel the effects of this than larger businesses, purely on grounds of scale. They do not employ as many people so it will take them far more time to catch up the lost time.
Taking all of your staff out of the office for a day can also create a bad impression. Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was widely criticised for being pictured playing croquet on a departmental away-day at a time when he was supposed to be running the country. Your SME may not have to deal with the criticism of the national media, but it won’t look good if your customers can’t get in contact. So, if everyone is away from their desks it’s vital to reroute calls and ensure your clients can still get through.
Away-days can also sometimes be counter-productive. On an overall level, they may not solve any long-term problems your company has, and, on an individual level, they may not get rid of any personal issues between members of staff. If the away-day is set in a competitive environment like a ten-pin bowling or kart racing competition, there’s even a risk it could produce an unpopular winner.
Ultimately, you will know better than anyone if your SME could benefit from an office away-day. If you are looking for suggestions about where to go and what to do, it can help to talk to people from other small businesses about how effective they found similar events.
Basepoint’s serviced offices, in locations including Gosport, Shoreham and Northfleet, encourage networking by holding a range of events for small businesses. This makes it easy to exchange ideas about events and activities which might inspire staff. We also offer breakout areas for socialising and serviced meeting rooms. Contact us to find out more about our range of services.