We made it! This summer we held a superb team building 2-day event, gathering the Helvia team members from different parts of the world in a magical location in Greece, and it was a blast! The event was a great opportunity to get to know each other better, make new friends, strengthen our team, learn more about the different amazing projects that keep the team members busy, and of course have fun together.

But the event planning part did look a bit overwhelming in the beginning. For a remote team like ours, the logistics and the organization aspects of a physical 2-day event meant a lot of hard work in order to get everything right. However, with the handy collaboration tools available and the right process in place, everything worked smoothly. And we had the best time together as you can see in the video.

Here are the tips and tools we followed to organize an unforgettable event.

1. Define the purpose

In order to get started, we had to define the ‘Why’ of the event to ensure we organized an event that fits the purpose. The questions we had to answer internally were why we are having this team-building event, why the team members would find it valuable and what would make this an unforgettable and meaningful experience.

Once the purpose was agreed, it made it easier to answer the other three ‘W’ questions to help us jump to the actual organization: Where and When would the event take place and What type of activities we should include.

So here is our initial list:

  • Why: The purpose of our event was team alignment, bonding, communication, collaboration to have fun together!
  • Where: Being located in Greece, provided us plenty of nice locations so we had to narrow our options based on the facilities available, the ease of access and of course, our budget. The winner? Anavyssos, a beautiful seaside location outside of Athens.
  • When: The event was designed to take place over two days in the beginning of summer, enabling us to enjoy the sea and the sun!
  • What: Team presentations and fun outdoor activities

2. Choose dates & times

In order to pick up the dates and duration of the event we first had to check the team’s calendars. We had to find dates where we didn’t have important deadlines and all employees could attend. In addition, since our event was designed over two days, it was important to know that everyone would be able to make it.

In terms of the times, as we wanted to make sure that our event would include some outdoor activities, we had to plan these to take place later in the day in order to not be too hot.

3. Set the Budget

It was important to know the available budget in order to set realistic expectations. In order to ensure that we stayed on budget, we considered the below aspects:

  • Venue/accommodation
  • Transportation and parking
  • Activities
  • Food & drink
  • Activities/entertainment
  • Insurance
  • Any additional card charges

Keeping track of the costs was very handy through Google Sheets.

4. Choose the location

The right venue is a key factor for the success of any team building event. We needed to ensure that the venue could accommodate our group and the activities we had designed. In addition, it needed to be accessible easily, especially for people traveling from different cities or countries.

Here are some factors we considered before choosing the venue:

  • Is the venue suitable for the indoor and outdoor activities we have designed?
  • Can it fit the number of participants?
  • Does it provide the amenities required for team presentations, like audio/visual equipment, internet access, etc.?
  • Is it easily accessible?
  • Is there availability for the dates we have chosen?
  • Are the costs within budget?

These questions did help us narrow down our choices and we decided to host our event at the beautiful Vincci Evereden Beach Resort.

5. Develop the Agenda

An important aspect of the organization was developing the event agenda over the two days. The agenda helped us to efficiently schedule the day and inform our team in advance of what to expect.

For our agenda planning purposes we used Notion, a tool that allowed us to effectively collaborate, plan and communicate the daily schedule.

Our agenda provided detailed information, including arrival and departure times, duration of each activity, meeting points, breakfast, lunch and dinner times and locations. We ensured we shared it with the team well in advance to adequately prepare them.

As our event also included employee presentations, we also had to ensure we allowed enough time for working on those.

6. Organize traveling & accommodation

For our event we had people traveling from different cities and countries, so organizing the travel and accommodation required some additional planning.

We used Notion’s lists to gather employee info in regards to traveling. For example for employees traveling from another city in Greece, it came in very handy to know who would be able to bring their own car.

7. Coordinate the team activities

In addition to the presentations planned during the day, we also had some exciting outdoor activities planned for the team. We partnered with a professional organization with team building event expertise and we designed together an exciting 2-hour activity, which included some ice-breaker games, as well as some more competitive ones. They provided all the necessary equipment and with their experience we were guaranteed to have a successful event.

8. Order welcome gifts

We wanted to create memories and have some welcome gifts delivered to our team! We ordered some Helvia t-shirts, cups and bags and we got all set for our event.

The t-shirts meant we had some extra logistics in order to get the sizes right. For this we asked the team members to check the required t-shirt size in another Notion list.

Allowing enough time for ordering the gifts was definitely critical!

9. Ensure effective communication

In order to plan everything right it is important to have effective communication. In addition to the information contained, the structure and the frequency of the communication sent before and during the event, the medium of communication is equally important.

In our case we created a designated channel within Microsoft Teams, ensuring that all relevant information was passed to the team in an accurate and timely manner. In the planning phase the channel served well to send and collect information from the team members. In addition, it served as a great way to start discussions about anything that was unclear and it would be beneficial for the whole team to know.

We planned a series of communications during the weeks leading up to the event with important information, including:

  • Check-in and checkout dates & times
  • Location
  • Hotel information and directions
  • Accommodation arrangements
  • Transportation information
  • Parking
  • Expenses information
  • Food & drinks & request for any special dietary requirements
  • Event agenda
  • What to bring
  • Dress code

10. Get event feedback

To gather event feedback, we used our no-code Chatbricks Console to quickly set up a chatbot to gather our team’s views from the event and share useful information.

If you want to find out how to easily create your own chatbot, with no coding skills required, contact us at comms@helvia.io to book a demo!