517 Magazine Days of Giveaways

A New Look at Offsite Company Retreats

What if your company tried a whole new approach to an offsite event? As soon as participants arrive, they will know that their wellness retreat will be very different from any o…

Help your employees learn new wellness practices that they can bring back to the office and use to increase their effectiveness at work. For example, a meditation class can introduce retreat participants to techniques that anyone can learn to reduce stress, increase vitality, flexibility and strength.

“Mentally, you will be able to work with more clarity and concentration. You will also benefit emotionally. You’ll become more even-minded, learn to overcome negative moods, and develop positive attitudes which bring true happiness and well-being,” writes Mike Limauro, an executive coach who has taught meditation to many CEOs and their executive teams and seen the positive improvement on their business results.

Nonstressed employees cost companies 46 percent less per year than stressed employees.

(Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, JOEM, April 2004)

“Job stress is a key driver of health care costs. According to the Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine, health care expenditures are nearly 50 percent greater for workers reporting high levels of stress.”(Corbitt Clark, Mary, [online], The Cost of Job Stress, mediate.com)

Recent research of the benefits of meditation in reducing stress-related illness has convinced many corporations nationwide, including Marriott, Adolf Coors, Polaroid, Hughes Aircraft, Pacific Bell, and NASA, to use meditation training as part of their stress management programs.

Meditation significantly controls high blood pressure at levels comparable to widely used prescription drugs, and without the side effect of drugs. (Hypertension, American Health Association Medical Journal)

The retreat can begin with tai chi or morning yoga to get bodies moving and creative energies flowing. People will burn off excess energy and get their minds and bodies focused in preparation for working with a professional facilitator. Maybe your company needs to create a new mission statement and set business goals for next year. Perhaps your company needs to rethink a current business strategy to respond effectively to changing market conditions. Whatever you business agenda, well-being practices can relax your body and clear your mind to help your team create winning ideas.

Your wellness retreat will include a healthy and delicious lunch. Instead of the typical fast food, pizza, boxed lunch, or buffet, try something unique. How about a local gourmet lunch truck that can deliver a variety of unique sandwiches on whole grain breads and organic soups made with local produce? Replace donuts and endless cups of coffee and pop with fruit and juices.

Once the hard work is over but before participants leave the comforting atmosphere, employees can ease into the real world with a relaxing chair massage or reflexology treatment. Tight muscles will loosen, shoulders will relax, breathing will deepen and minds will be clear and refreshed.

By stepping away from the work routine, offsite retreats can offer participants a chance to rediscover the meaning and motivation for their daily work—it can also offer them tools they can use in and outside of work that will improve their well-being and ultimately make them more effective employees. Step out of your rut and make your next offsite a well-being retreat.

Christine Reay is co-owner of Creative Wellness in East Lansing. She is nationally certified in massage therapy and bodywork, and specializes in clinical and sports massage.



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