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How to Host a Virtual Offsite That Ignites Team-Building

All posts

How to Host a Virtual Offsite That Ignites Team-Building

virtual-offsite (1)

Start by selecting a virtual venue like Kumospace and planning your event goals.

We planned to have our first in-person company offsite in January 2021. At the offsite, team members located across the globe would finally meet each other face to face for team building activities and discuss our vision for the future of Kumospace. Unfortunately, the Kumospace offsite was scheduled at the height of Omicron, which forced us to pivot at the last minute. Instead of hosting the offsite in Florida, we hosted the event virtually in Kumospace. 

Our two-day offsite in Kumospace's immersive virtual chat platform worked better than expected. It positively shifted the company in numerous ways (more on that later) and let us include everyone with 100% attendance.

If you are thinking about planning your own offsite, below are some strategies and tips that helped make our first offsite for Kumospace so successful.

Goal-Setting, Planning, And Setting an Engaging Agenda

The earlier you can define the goals for your event and start planning your company offsite the better. The best virtual events are thoughtfully produced, and for a virtual offsite it's important to start with goals that you want to accomplish. Is your offsite mostly about sharing information and communicating? Are you focused on workshopping company values? Or are you concentrating on team building? 

For Kumospace's first virtual offsite, this was our focus:

  • Build relationships with teammates
  • Align on company strategy
  • Refine company culture

We scheduled all of our events around these objectives and sent out a survey to the team before the event that helped inform our offsite programming. The anonymous survey (feel free to read it here, and adapt it for your own event) included a mix of personal and professional questions, such as: What was your first job growing up? What did you learn from it? If Kumospace were an animal what would it be? and What's our biggest strength as a company? What's our biggest weakness?

We encouraged frank answers.

The thoughtful feedback we received from our team turned out to be an invaluable insight into the company, and we used that feedback  — as well as our goals for the virtual offsite — to organize our agenda. The Kumospace offsite also included icebreakers as well as a lunch delivery paid for by the company, and a day-long hackathon focused on collaborative team-building.

Here's what our schedule of events looked like: 

Thursday, – Strategy / Planning

  • 11:00–11:15 AM: Kickoff & agenda (Yang & Brett)
  • 11:15–1:00 PM: Culture & values (Brett)
  • 1:00–1:30 PM: Lunch
  • 1:30–2 PM: 2022 Company goals & strategy (Brett & Yang)
  • 2–2:30 PM: Marketing & branding (Drew & Sophia)
  • 2:30–3 PM: Sales (Max)
  • 3:30–4 PM: Break/Fun (Tony)
  • 4–5 PM: Product roadmap (Yang)

You'll notice each section has a leader, and we also tapped different team members to participate to amplify other voices in the company. We used Kumospace's Present feature to share decks, and other key presentation materials, to the entire floor.

It's also worth noting we hosted all the programming in Kumospace's virtual Stage floor complete with seating, a virtual bar and, of course, a stage. The floor designed by our in-house artist Alan Lee and virtual comedy host Dan Galea, made it feel like a special event.  

stage-room

One of the core foundations of Kumospace is fun. So, we tapped Tony, our operations manager, to lead a raucous game of Would you rather?.

During the game, Kumospace employees zipped to the left or right side of the floor depending on the answer to the question. We still crack up about how we spent 20 minutes discussing whether we would rather throw up on a celebrity, or vice versa.

On day two, we made sure everyone had a moment to share their perspective in our teamwork-driven hackathon by using Kumospace's Broadcast feature, which enlarges the user's video and broadcasts it across the floor. 

Friday, 1/14 – Hackathon (click the link to see how we structured the event and model it for your own event).

  • 10:00–10:15 AM: Kickoff
  • 10:15-10:45 AM: Hackathon pitches
  • 10:45-11:00 AM: Form teams
  • 11:00-4:00 PM: Build!
  • 4:00-4:30 PM: Presentations
  • 4:30-4:45 PM: Judging

Logistics and Tech

If you can it helps to have a designated tech person, and a designated M/C to whip up the team and keep employees engaged. In our case, Yang handled the technical side such as sharing documents or broadcasting specific messages while Brett handled keeping up the energy of the team by zipping around Kumospace and stoking the crowd. In general, our rule of thumb is to bring twice as much energy to an online event or meeting to keep everyone engaged. Both of us checked in with folks when they were broken into different groups and kept an eye on the clock so activities didn't drag on too long, and team members stayed engaged.

We also used sound to transition between activities, using Kumospace's interactive gong and our applause button, which cues the sound of clapping.

Offsite Follow Up and Follow Through

It was important for us to learn from the offsite — and we sent an employee survey asking employees their feedback on the event. We also have made it a point to take our January offsite learnings and collaborative spirit into our weekly routines. 

As we spent two days co-working together in Kumospace for our winter offsite we realized how much we liked the camaraderie. We also realized we could be running better meetings and working collaboratively alongside one another more in Kumospace. 

The offsite inspired us to build out our own virtual office in Kumospace, and we've been spending much more time together in our new virtual office digs (contact us for your own tour).

virtual-office

Now, we feel more connected as a team because we see one another casually in the Virtual Office, which helps with having a more engaging workday. Our team members have reported feeling happier in their workdays, and better communication across departments since we have invested time in our Virtual Office. 

The idea behind Kumospace's Virtual Offices is to enrich remote work by bringing back the hustle and bustle of the physical office space in the virtual world. You can see productivity happening all around you, co0work with your team and bump into colleagues you don’t normally talk to, and swing by each other’s offices to solve problems in real-time or to simply say, "hi!".  

Reach out if you want to learn more about how Kumospace's Virtual Office is offering solutions for remote work. Or get in touch if you have ideas for a virtual offsite that we missed!

Here's a quick summary/virtual offsite checklist

✅ Plan your virtual offsite ahead by choosing your virtual venue, setting offsite goals, organizing your guest list, and coordinating an agenda packed with variety. 

✅ Send a pre-offsite survey to the team — with a mix of professional and fun questions — and use those answers to coordinate your programming and offer fun icebreakers. 

✅ Set your agenda. We recommend mixing it with games or fun icebreakers, company goal discussions, brainstorming, and an intensive team-building activity like our own hackathon. 

✅ Pick an MC to stoke the audience, and a designated person to support tech.

✅ Use sound to transition between activities.

✅ Get everyone involved! Give each team member a moment to shine or participate. 

✅ Don't forget to follow-up with a company-wide survey asking for feedback about your event, and be sure to incorporate what you learned during the offsite into your company. 

Looking for more solutions to bridging the gap between remote work and culture? Book a demo with the Kumospace team. 

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