Long gone is a corporate retreat comprised of conference tables laden with water pitchers, coffee, and doughnuts. Today’s retreats transcend these ideas to promote creativity, scenery, and activity as a means to corporate bonding and brainstorming.
This summer, the Lake Austin Spa Resort added more than 30 new teambuilding activities to its curriculum, as part of a new series called “The Ripple Effect.” Activities include Kayak Relays, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Board Meetings, Group SUP Paddle Race, and Geocaching.
“The Boardroom has been redefined,” said a Lake Austin Spa Resort press release. “We have re-thought our spaces to encourage conversation and bring creativity and inspiration to both individuals and companies,” said Mike McAdams, co-owner of the property. “Our spaces feel ‘residential’ and feature original art and antiques. Think: casually elegant, yet refined.”
Instructor-led water activities are proving particularly helpful, such as with SUP, boat cruises, lakeside picnics, hydro-biking, kayaking, sculling, and yoga and meditation on the resort’s lakefront yoga deck. Director of Programming Robbie Hudson said, “Research has shown that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water. It does two things; it calms and connects us. And it’s even suggested that it induces a sense of euphoria.”
Off-water activities can include private cooking classes, team hikes, meditation walks, and boot camps. Simple touches include being able to explore ideas while sitting under a beautiful arbor or on a dock or in a hammock, rather than in a corporate boardroom. The resort even can take care to support the mental focus of conference attendees by using fresh rosemary and basil from the on-site organic gardens for floral arrangements, both herbs known to boost mental clarity and focus and to help improve memory.
Andrea J. Kin, Vice President of Operations at DaVita VillageHealth, Inc. endorsed the resort for her conference experience. “The location was perfect – right on Lake Austin, with beautiful relaxing views. Instantly our stress levels went down. The accommodations were luxurious and we took advantage of several different spaces for our meetings, from the conference room inside a spa, to a dining area by the lake and even a yoga dock that was right on the water. It was the perfect place for a team to bond.”