Let’s be honest, fun law firm retreats are few and far between. Of the law firms who have retreats at all, many use them as a way to conduct business as usual in a scenic location. Progressive firms, however, are taking advantage of the benefits that authentically “fun” retreats can offer, reports the American Bar Association.
With tighter budgets, relaxation activities are the first to be cut at firms. Cutting back on relaxation, however, might not be the best idea. “Play makes us far better at problem solving,” says Nancy Byerly Jones, a lawyer, mediator and law firm retreat facilitator in North Carolina.
Here are five fun (and affordable!) law firm retreat ideas that might be surprisingly beneficial to your firm:
Volunteering retreats. A great local retreat option that boosts morale and encourages both collaboration and kinship is volunteering together. Give back to the community and learn more about colleagues' interests while volunteering at animal shelters, soup kitchens, and beyond.
Physically active retreats. Attorneys are notorious for living a sedentary lifetsyle. A great way to combat the physical inertia and get the endorphins going is to have a retreat that involves movement. Fret not, lethargic lawyers. Relaxing activities like swimming, hiking and dancing are great (non-marathon) possibilities. For those who want to be especially eased into it, golfing is an option, too.
Physically pampering retreats. If you'd rather sweat from a sauna than a sport, pencil in a pamper retreat. A cozy relaxed meeting could give you and your employees a chance to diffuse stress and talk about life and the firm.
Palatable retreats. Wine country and fine dining are not uncommon law firm [re]treats. Since budgets are tighter these days, a fun, interactive and affordable retreat option might be a cook-off or clambake party. Beer brewing is also becoming a popular activity.
Peaceful retreats. Meditation and digital detox retreats are getting big in the corporate scene. They might even inspire a tradition of scheduled quiet time after a tough afternoon at work. Goodbye "2 p.m. Crash," hello "2 p.m Quiet Time."
Next time, when you're deciding between a seminar and a skit at your retreat, remember Nancy Byerly Jones:
"I facilitate both business-only and business-plus-relaxation retreats for law firms, and there is no question in my mind that the ones that include group or individual relaxation activities are far more successful at reaching their goals and objectives--making these activities well worth the added expense."