How to Plan a Corporate Retreat: External Tech Company Locations Explained


Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter! I’m replacing Michelle Ma today.

Today: Allison Levitsky on how not to mess up your offsite business, why Uber now treats hiring as a “privilege” and who’s paying the most to get to work right now.

— Amber Burton, journalist (E-mail | Twitter)

How not to mess up your offsite business

Offsite retreats are back. If you haven’t hosted an in-person employee rally yet this year, chances are you’re planning one. Attending Protocol’s own IRLFest in DC last month — and hearing startup executives discuss their own upcoming off-sites — got me thinking about how to plan for a great retirement.

Retirement planners told me they were now inundated with demand after a dormant pandemic period. Normally the offsite season peaks in the fall, but this spring has been a busy time with offices reopening and colleagues gathering. I asked some planners for tips on avoiding common retirement planning mistakes.

Start early. Retirement planners sometimes have to turn away clients because their requests come in at the last minute, said Sean Hoff, founder and managing partner of Toronto-based retirement agency Moniker.

  • Hoff said he meets with companies that want to plan a retirement for hundreds of employees with just a few months of lead time.
  • “For a decent-sized retreat of 100 people, you’re looking at a minimum of six months,” Hoff said.
  • This is especially true in the age of the pandemic, as many companies choose to buy an entire hotel for their retirement.

Plan a realistic budget. Some companies send their employees by plane for international excursions – Mexico is a popular choice – but it is not necessary to spend too much. Just do your homework on the price of hotels, meals, and activities.

  • Hoff said a typical budget for a 200-person retreat is $600,000 or $700,000: $3,000 to $3,500 per person. Some companies spend up to $5,000 or $6,000 per person.
  • Startups working on tighter budgets may opt to have employees share hotel rooms, go to a more casual restaurant for dinner, or do away with the open bar. (Maybe they’ll only cover the first two glasses, for example.)
  • Companies can also choose less expensive activities, such as going for a hike rather than taking a cooking class.

Don’t overbook. Many companies are overambitious with their retirement schedules, Hoff said. But especially after two years of working remotely, one of the main purposes of offsite activities is simply to have fun and connect with colleagues.

  • “[Some clients] think they must have programming from 9 [a.m.] until nightfall,” Hoff said. “Sometimes the most fun thing happens during free time, where people can just hang out by the pool or go to a common area like a fire pit.”
  • At the same time, don’t let your retirement become one long party, said Ryan Shortill, founder and executive chairman of Positive Adventures. “If you get everyone together, but at the end of the day you don’t come away with a really solid strategic plan, then it’s more of a celebration,” Shortill said.

The ways companies bring their teams together are changing rapidly. Quarterly get-togethers may become a common cadence in the tech industry: Airbnb just told employees that while they can work from anywhere indefinitely, most of them will meet for a week at a time four times per year.

But these are not lavish parties. Nobody needs to go to Europe with their colleagues, but a celebratory and thoughtful moment in person is important. Head-to-head time means more to teams today than it ever has before.

— Allison Levitsky, journalist (E-mail | Twitter)

Uber tightens the purse strings

The technology is experiencing a “seismic shift” in the market. Or at least that’s what Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told employees in an email obtained by CNBC. Khosrowshahi said the company plans to reduce hiring and other related costs, and from now on hiring will be treated as a “privilege”. Uber is just the latest in a long line of tech companies that have announced plans to cut spending. Organizations continue to feel pressures from the war in Ukraine, the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain failures, inflation and other issues. Perhaps Khosrowshahi best summed up the current sentiment: “Satisfying the moment means compromising.”

Read the full story.


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Learn more

Today’s tips and tools

Aye Moah, CEO of messaging app Boomerang, has a positive point: stop pouring all your energy into Inbox Zero. Protocol sat down with her to talk about managing the email inbox and the meeting calendar blues. Read the full article or check out some of his top tips below.

  • Don’t check your email first thing in the morning. The very first thing Moah does is absorb yesterday’s to-do list and figure out when she’ll be working on each task.
  • Recurring reminder emails can help streamline meetings. Boomerang employees receive recurring reminder emails the afternoon before a meeting. The reminder will prompt people to send in the necessary materials and outline the purpose of the meeting.

—Lizzy Lawrence, Journalist (E-mail | Twitter)

Commute. In this economy?

Returning to the office means returning to the commuter bus, train, or plane (although, please rethink your lifestyle choices if you regularly fly to the office.)

If you can’t take public transport, that means you’re back behind the wheel of your car, working with the rest of the people on the highway. And with gas prices the way they are today, that can be extremely expensive.

Car insurance comparison site looked at data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and a Harvard Business Review survey to find out who pays the most these days. this.

  • $15,005: The average annual cost to get to work in Fremont, California, the city with the most expensive commute in the United States
  • $2,874: The average annual cost to get to work in Lubbock, Texas, the city with the cheapest commute in the United States
  • $52: The average daily commuting cost of workers in San Francisco, California.
  • $3,200: The average amount a commuter saves if they live in one of the cities with the cheapest average commute (Lubbock, TX; Laredo, TX; Tulsa, Oklahoma).
  • 41 minutes: The average time workers save per day by working from home.

See the rest of the data.


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Thoughts, questions, advice? Send them to [email protected]. Have a good day, see you Thursday.


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