Many of us will have no doubt at some level been involved in the Staff Away. Love it or loath it, they are events that we need to support. I’ve actually in the past run the entire event and it is such a large challenge. So when I came across this example of a Staff Away Day that Gallus Events ran I had to share it. It is a wonderful case study; if only all of our Staff Away Days’ could be so useful!

Initially the organisation was not sure at all about running an away day. This is quite typical and I have often thought: exactly why are we doing this again? Often no one actually thinks what the value is of running the meeting and you can’t count hangovers and gossip generated from the evenings drinks! However, in this example the organisation was going through some major change and the board decided that an away day was needed.

So to make sure that as much value as possible was delivered Gallus Events asked all of the potential attendees “what is the biggest bugbear that you have with the organisation?” And the answer was clear right across the board: the biggest problem right across the organisations was that staff spent too long in meetings.

So with this at the forefront of the meeting Gallus Events set out to design the event to achieve all the objectives the organisation had around bringing people together and covering certain topics PLUS an objective of reducing the time staff spent in meetings once they get back to the office. A target that would save £10,000s of man hours. Wow! Now that would be useful. Why can’t we push our Executives and our organisations to have this type of objective from a staff away day? They also added an objective that the staff would actually enjoy the day.

The event had a budget of £50,000 and without a strategic objective like to reduce the time staff have in meetings once they return to the office the event may have been a waste of money. If you think about it the event would take fifty senior staff out of the office for two days! And that is an extra cost on top of the £50,000!

Structuring your Staff Away Day to limit meetings when staff get back to the office

Gallus Events did a few things. They:

  • Had no session longer than 30mins
  • Gave the attendees a very creative environment in which to work
  • Broke down barriers between staff at the start of the day
  • Set them challenging tasks in challenge time frames
  • Littered the programme and the space with examples of stories of success from working smartly
  • Worked with the attendees to create company guidance on how to run shorter meetings
  • Gave everyone a copy of “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Gallus Events also supported and encouraged the organisations to put in place a plan to target the reduction of hours per week that the attendee spent in meetings and to make sure they measured the results. They also suggested the organisation cost the savings.

Six months later the value of the Staff Away Day was clear in monetary terms. 1000s of hours had been shaved from unnecessary meetings across the organisations. The Staff Away Day covered all of the strategic issues for all of the Executives but also significantly reduced the costs of the organisations. The Staff Awat Day this time was a wise investment. And no doubt as much fun to organise as to attend.

Gallus Events specialises in helping organisations run better events and large meetings. If you think they can help why not take advantage of the FREE 1 hour consultancy for PPPA readers and subscribers.

William from Gallus Events will also be speaking at the Assist Conference on the 26th February. Places are extremely limited so if you would like to attend, please book your place as soon as possible. All of the information on the conference can be found at this very address


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