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How to Plan an Offsite Meeting: Advice from our team of professionals

14 Jan 2017

Administrative Assistant, Office Manager, Executive Assistant, Office Ninja — whatever your title might be, one title remains constant: the unsung office hero. You’re the one that makes sure your team stays well fed and energized; the powerhouse behind every successful offsite.

We’re lucky to work with a group of stellar admins that have become quite the pros when it comes to offsite planning. To tap into this wealth of knowledge, we asked our Admin Hall of Fame to share their number one tip when it comes to ensuring a seamless offsite. From finding the right space to staying organized, see how they make it happen.

1) Consider who you’re planning the offsite for

Think about the group for whom you are planning. Are they super competitive? Introspective? Physically active? Not into alcohol? On a budget? Your group may be made up of a lot of different types of people, and considering their interests and needs will help you create an event that’s inclusive and memorable. You’ll never be able to please everyone, but you can be thoughtful in your approach!

— Kim Rohrer, VP People & Culture at Disqus / Founder & CEO at OrgOrg

2) Determine the purpose

First, determine the offsite’s desired outcome and plan around those goals. For example, if your goal is for the team to leave with interesting and innovative product ideas, booking a creative and unusual venue will be much more conducive than a traditional meeting room at a hotel.

— Heather Phillips, Administrative Assistant at Google

3) Think about suitability

Does the venue reflect or detract from the events image? It’s important that the venue is aligned with not only the image you are trying to project, but also the appropriate place for your target audience.

— Melanie Grant, Team Coordinator at Asana

4) Make sure nothing falls through the cracks

Schedule everything about the offsite with a project management tool such as Asana, complete with meeting objectives, due dates and assignees. This way NOTHING falls through the cracks. Additionally, when you go to replicate the event for another team or department down the road, you can just pull up the same template! Less work, same outcome!

— Carolyn McKinney, Office Manager at Uber

5) Stay organized  

Organization is key. During offsite planning, I work with a checklist, which gets updated during each offsite planning.  The key is to update the list on ongoing basis in order to avoid forgetting new tasks/issues that came up.  Checking off the items of the list, is the best reward.

— Olia Golinder, Executive Assistant at Peerspace

6) Keep your team productive  

Think through the entire offsite so that you can plan breakout sessions throughout the day. We’re only programmed to stay focused in 20 minute increments, so it’s really important to keep everyone moving with different activities. This creates a lot more work for the planner, but it will make the day fly by for your team.

— Claire McClendon, Executive Assistant at Lyft  

7) Make it fun and mix it up

I like to plan fun team building activities such as Bubble Soccer, pumpkin picking, or a sushi making class. I keep a master Google Doc of fun things to do in San Francisco and the Bay Area so I never run out of great ideas for my teams.

— Salome Donenfeld, Executive Assistant at Adroll

We want to help admins shine at their jobs. We believe that by bringing you unique, undiscovered venues, you can wow your team and make them more productive. In an effort to make your job easier, explore this collection of inspiring spaces for your next offsite, meeting, or event.

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