Planning an Away Day in a post-lockdown world

With restrictions having been steadily lifted over the past few weeks, we’ve been working with a number of voluntary and community organisations to design their away days.

Usually, we’d be focusing on the usual strategic stuff… some current situation analysis, future horizon scanning, and road mapping but, in this new post-lockdown world, we have been speaking to our clients about the need to shift the focus.

Here are our three top tips to keep in mind when planning your away day:

  1. Reconnect

After over a year of isolation, zoom calls, and working from home, the lifting of restrictions means that your staff and trustee team can finally get together. If you’ve been thinking  “oh the restrictions have been lifted now, let’s get back to normal ASAP and plan a big away day”, just wait.

Whilst previous away days may have had more of a focus on the ‘doing’, this time around it’s important to construct time in your away day agenda for you and your employees to reconnect with and, in some cases, get to know each other. This means being intentional about facilitating sessions that focus on building relationships, structuring elements of the day in smaller groups of twos or threes, a longer lunch break, or a combination of the three!

  1. Reflect

For many organisations, this pandemic will have changed everything. Strategies will have gone out of the window, some employees may have gone from being service providers to service users and many will have lost relatives, friends, and colleagues. Lockdown will have forced many to juggle work with parenting and caring responsibilities as well as other commitments, many will have found themselves feeling completely isolated from others, and working from home will have forced colleagues to communicate with each other in different ways than they will have done previously.

With this in mind, it’s important to create time and space during the day to reflect on everything that has happened over this period, as well as think about the positives that they want to take into the future “new normal”

You might find it helpful to ask people to consider the following:

  • What has been the impact of the pandemic on us and those around us? Or how has the landscape for our work changed as a result of the pandemic and other external factors?
  • What were the positive things that we learned that we want to retain for our future ways of working?
  • Based on what we know or can predict about the future, how can we be most effective in achieving our mission; where should we focus our efforts?
  • How will we safeguard our relationships and wellbeing over this next phase?
  1. Safe Space

For many teams, this year’s away day will be their introduction back into the physical workspace. It is vitally important that this space is a safe one. We have focused on the use of outdoor space as much as possible to ease any anxieties about face-to-face contact, as well as make use of the great weather (whilst it lasts)!

Although restrictions may be lifted, it’s extremely important to be flexible, supportive employers and really pay attention to your employees’ needs. There is a danger in expecting everyone to catch up and be working at pre-pandemic levels.

Just remember, your employees are people who give their all and, if you get this introduction back into the workplace right, they will thank you and go above and beyond as a result.

If you’d like to find out more about how Clear Thinking could help you design your organisation’s away day, get in touch today.



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