Corporate wellness retreats have taken on a whole new significance since the pandemic. While the relaxation benefits are obvious, these retreats are also an excellent way for C-level employees to recharge, reconnect, and reinvigorate their shared passion for the organization and its goals. But there are a lot of moving parts to a corporate wellness retreat, and many people don’t even know where to begin.
The Benefits of a Corporate Retreat for Executives
Luxury wellness retreats are common for C-level team members. Executives are constantly under intense pressure, they dedicate a tremendous amount of hours to their jobs, and their decisions impact the entire organization. It’s extremely important for executives to be united, confident, clear-headed, and in a positive frame of mind. A corporate wellness retreat seeks to encourage all of these qualities in executives who might otherwise be tired, frustrated, under-motivated, and unsure of themselves.
Corporate retreats have shown to improve morale, reduce burnout and anxiety, and improve performance. In addition, these events provide opportunities for executives to connect on a more personal level when their past interactions may have been mostly professional. This can help to facilitate greater trust, camaraderie, and cooperation.
Since the pandemic, workers have become increasingly isolated—even at the executive level. But a well-executed retreat can help to rebuild morale, restore a shared sense of purpose, reduce turnover, and get executives genuinely excited about the organization as they focus on their own physical and mental health.
Why This Is the Year for a Corporate Wellness Retreat
A corporate wellness retreat is a multi-day program organized with the goal of promoting employee health and wellness. These retreats are commonly held in a scenic or serene location, such as a luxury beach resort, and their duration can vary from a few days to more than a week.
Common activities include team-building exercises, health and fitness classes, yoga, meditation, mental health-related seminars, outdoor excursions, and spa treatments. Business typically takes a backseat at these events—if it is mentioned at all.
Research from the Global Wellness Institute projects that the global wellness travel industry will hit $1.3 trillion in 2025, nearly double its 2022 value. There are numerous factors that play into this trend:
- An increased corporate focus on mental health
- A growing trend toward corporate wellness programs
- Record levels of burnout in the workplace
- An increase in remote work (necessitating a need for executives to reconnect)
In addition, more executives are booking these retreats because it’s easier than ever to do so. The wellness industry is exploding. Whereas corporations once had to handle most of the planning and execution on their own, it’s now easier than ever to book a wellness retreat where the details are already covered.
Travel companies and luxury properties worldwide are getting into the game, organizing retreats where the activities, meals, lodging, and lectures are all-inclusive and tightly structured. For example, Aerial BVI luxury wellness retreats include a daily itinerary complete with meals, hikes, yoga, meditation, and plenty of time for networking and social activities—all from the comfort of a breathtaking private island in the Caribbean. And while not all wellness retreats are quite so extravagant, they all have roughly the same goals.
How to Plan a Corporate Wellness Retreat
If you’re thinking of organizing your own wellness retreat, there are a few key steps involved:
- Establish a mission or intention for the retreat. What are the benchmarks? What are you looking to achieve? Put it in writing.
- Determine the ideal date(s) and attendees. It’s important to know—or at least estimate—the number of attendees so that you can plan out the venue and activities accordingly.
- Decide on a venue, and book it quickly to lock down your desired dates. Consider the number of attendees when choosing a venue. Scenic locales work best to facilitate the kind of healing and recharging that occur at a wellness retreat.
- Stay in close contact with the venue’s management; explain the goals of your retreat, and determine if you’ll need to book any secondary rentals within the facility—such as lecture halls, banquet halls, business centers, or dining locations. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re booking an entire resort or vacation rental, but it might be an issue if you’re booking a shared resort or facility.
- Establish a daily agenda. Make a list of structured activities, and set a schedule for each. Determine if you need to hire any speakers or experts to oversee these activities. It largely depends on your goals and budget. For instance, you could hire a live yoga instructor or rely on streaming yoga videos depending on how you want to allocate your budget. Consider if you’re going to use a hired chef or rely on the dining facilities at your resort of choice. And what about guest speakers? Consider everything—and everyone—you’ll need to make your retreat a success.
Again, you could also opt for an all-inclusive wellness retreat package that takes care of the incidentals on your behalf. Then it’s just a matter of making the travel arrangements and working with the resort to customize your daily agenda and meals.
What Matters in a Corporate Wellness Retreat
Whether you opt for a pre-organized wellness retreat or design your own getaway from the ground up, certain qualities are imperative:
- Keep the focus on wellness. Though it’s okay to schedule team brainstorming events and other work-related activities, the prime focus should be on mental and physical health. Plan your events and amenities accordingly. Popular choices include group yoga, guided mindfulness activities, healthy cooking classes, nature hikes, fun athletic activities, and inspiring self-improvement lectures from knowledgeable guest speakers.
- Know your attendees. If anyone has specific mobility challenges, dietary requirements, medical needs, availability limitations, or other challenges that might affect the group retreat, you’ll need to know ahead of time. It also helps to know your team. Are they active? Outdoorsy? Introverted? Tailor your activities and meals according to the needs of your attendees.
- Keep it structured—but with some flexibility. A well-executed company retreat follows a tight schedule. Know your activities, and keep to an itinerary. However, it’s important to set aside time for people to relax, socialize, and explore independently. You are in a luxury locale, after all.
- Make it entertaining. If it feels like work, it’s not going to have the desired outcome. So be sure to mix up the educational and relaxing aspects of the trip with activities that are intended solely for fun and enjoyment: volleyball, trivia, scavenger hunts, whatever your team enjoys. Have a game night with craft beers, or host a bonfire on the beach with live music.
Consider the input of all prospective attendees, and tailor the event in a way that aligns with where your executives are struggling most. Is it burnout? Stress management issues? Disconnection? A lack of ideas for moving the company forward? Consider how your own retreat can help everyone to break through their biggest hurdles.
Wellness Is Always a Worthy Investment
The best way to invest in a business is to invest in the people behind it. So if you’ve noticed declining morale at the executive level, a fractured corporate culture, a lack of motivation, or just a lack of ideas, it might be time to head to the beach.
A wellness retreat won’t fix problems within an organization, but it can give your leadership the tools to successfully address them. And that’s definitely worth the price of an ocean view.