3 Retreat Considerations that are Unique to 2022 — And what you can do about it

Mar 10, 2022

In 2022, hosting a team retreat is possibly more important than ever — but it may be even trickier than ever, too. 

Below are three retreat considerations that are unique to 2022, as well as tips about what you can do about them.

1. Account for Burnout

With so many employees feeling burned out, they may either be desperate for a retreat or feel that there’s no way that they could take the time right now. 

Tips for accounting for burnout in your retreats:

  • Well in advance of the retreat, make sure that attendees have the power and the ability to adjust deadlines and workloads so that they can be fully present at the retreat. Provide them with the resources and support they need to make that happen.
  • Schedule time and/or activities into your retreat to allow participants to go through the Stress Response Cycle. Drs. Emily and Amelia Nagoski’s research highlight the fact that we need to process the emotions related to stress differently than we need to process the causes of the stress. Suggestions on how to deal with the emotions of the stress, therefore completing the Stress Response Cycle, include movement, artistic expression, and connection. Elements to include in your retreat that address those strategies might include the group taking a walk or a hike, journaling or drawing, or having time during meals to establish meaningful relationships with each other.
  • Help them see that by setting aside strategic, focused time with each other, it will save time in the long run. When people get into a focused state of flow in their work, the results are more creative and more efficient. It’s an investment in their time, development, and relationships.

2. Spend more time on Connection

In general, people who were used to working in person and have been working remotely for the majority of the pandemic have missed out on opportunities to connect with each other in more traditional ways. Additionally, with so many employees hired during the pandemic, some of your team members may have never met each other in person at all. 

Even though I believe that people can develop strong relationships remotely and can accomplish high quality work remotely, the serendipity of in-person relationship-building can be diminished, making it all the more important to intentionally build time in for Connection. 

Connection is fundamental for trust and psychological safety in the workplace, so it is worth the investment — especially during the Great Resignation where talent is leaving organizations in droves. As mentioned above, a bonus of focusing on Connection is that people who feel more connected to others feel a reduction in their stress and burnout.

Tips for building Connection during your retreat:

  • Spend a greater proportion of your time on get-to-know-you activities than you may have in the past.
  • Be clear on norm-setting and expectations so that everyone feels safe contributing.
  • Create a space where participants feel comfortable truly putting away their phones and other devices.
  • Schedule in some alone time so that when they are together they can show up more recharged and ready to connect. Make it clear that the alone time is for them to invest in their wellness and recharge, and that they should avoid work email at all costs.
  • Incorporate an assessment that helps individuals learn more about themselves and about their teammates. I am certified in and use FourSight, which helps identify one’s preferences and tendencies when solving complex problems. The insights gained from the FourSight assessment provide a language and a process for higher-quality, more innovative collaboration. Plus, that knowledge and the process help build Connection!

3. Hire a Flexible Facilitator

If we’ve learned anything over the course of the pandemic, it’s that we can never be sure what to expect, which is why it’s crucial to hire a flexible facilitator.

First of all, make sure that you hire a facilitator who is equally skilled at in-person and virtual facilitation. Although the trend right now is to bring people “back together” in-person, if there is a change in the public health situation or in your team that requires a shift to a virtual retreat, your facilitator needs to be able to make that shift. 

Since I would argue that virtual facilitation is harder to do than in-person facilitation, if you find someone highly skilled at virtual facilitation, you’re likely to have a facilitator who is also a strong in-person.

Additionally, if your team hasn’t had the opportunity to come together for a while, there might be growing pains. Your facilitator may need to adjust the schedule on the fly and skillfully navigate nuanced conversations as a result. While needing to manage retreat schedules and difficult conversations are not new to 2022, the weight of their importance is.

Tips for making sure your facilitator is flexible: 

  • Ask your prospective facilitator which interactive online platforms they use for virtual collaboration. I regularly use MURAL, which is a fun, interactive, online platform that allows for using “sticky notes,” icons, images, drawings, documents, etc. Plus, at the end you have a set of data that can continue to be referenced and expanded upon. Other online whiteboard options may include Miro, Jamboard, or Lucidspark. Additionally, tools like Poll Everywhere and Menti add in interaction and fun that is productive.
  • Ask your prospective facilitator for sample agendas and/or examples of difficult conversations they’ve managed, since knowing how they plan session timing and that they’ve managed challenging conversations can be key data in making your decision. A recent client of mine asked for these samples before making their selection, and this foresight helped them determine that I was the facilitator they wanted.

Are you looking for a partner that is aware of the challenges of facilitating in 2022, and yet who loves doing it anyway? Well, that’s me!

>>> I’m currently booking 2022 retreat facilitations. Book a time for us to chat about what you might be seeking.


Megan E. Mozina
Owner & Principal
Cresta Solutions


If you liked this blog post,
you'll love my Free Resource Guide!

"5 Steps to Leading Strategic Initiatives
in Times of Change"

You have a lot of pressure on you to lead meaningful initiatives in these times of great change.

But where do you start? How do you make sure that you're taking a creative approach? That your plan works?

This free resource guide from Cresta Solutions is here to help! It provides a 5-step framework for you to follow and some bonus "Pro Tips" to help you lead these changes with creativity and long-term impact.