There’s something to be said about taking a break from the standard day to day. 

However, it often seems that when we need it most, our schedules or our budgets don’t allow us to disconnect the way we’d like. Today’s work environment makes the ability to shut down apps or devices impossible, or at least it can feel that way.

We have email and Slack notifications buzzing through our work computers and personal devices. We Zoom in when we can’t physically attend a meeting, and we put up out of office notices with an apology for our delay; don’t worry, we’ll get back to you as soon as we return. 

What if we could change that? What if there was a way teams could connect while blocking out all the digital noise competing for our attention?

It’s called the team offsite

Contrary to what its name might suggest, offsites don’t have to be drawn out or intense. An offsite can go for a week or be as brief as a day. They can be as elaborate or as simple as your team needs them to be. They can happen in the same city as your corporate HQ, or you can dazzle your team with an excursion to someplace far away. 

As long as the offsite provides a chance for genuine human connection with colleagues, it will pave the way for priceless insights that leadership can use to strengthen culture and team performance.

Why our brains need to disconnect from work

To understand why offsites — and the concept of the strategic break in work — are such valuable tools for reaching the next level with your team, we need to take a trip down memory lane. The catch is, it’s not our own memory, but that of Don Draper.

The year is 1960 and as a prominent ad creative, disconnecting to find your flow (the focus state where we do our best work) isn’t just allowed, it’s encouraged. The leisurely business lunch, the midday nap to reset, and the brainstorm session after. It’s all part of a plan to get inspired and create without time constraints. 

The concept of a well-timed break isn’t new, but it has waned as the boundary between work and life blurs. While cocktails during business hours are (understandably) no longer encouraged, the question remains — why has the strategic reset been pushed aside?

Modern companies have a mindset geared towards productivity. The thinking goes, we are only productive when we are actively working. When we are not producing, we are not generating revenue. 

And yet, according to Harvard Business Review, “tethering yourself to a desk may help you power through more emails, but it’s rarely a recipe for innovative strategic thinking. In fact, research reveals that productivity decreases the more managers and teams work beyond standard work week hours.”

This insight may seem contradictory to the natural corporate mindset. However, research tells us that there is a better approach to foster inspiration and interconnectedness. Healthy work cultures that promote community and belonging not only harness higher levels of creative thinking but make people happier too. 

You know that expression, a rising tide lifts all boats? Happiness in the workplace benefits everyone, with an added bonus of benefitting the bottom line too. Happier workplaces are, on average, 13% more productive. Without even trying.

So in short: we need to spend less time at the desk, and more time connecting with our peers — which paves the way for better strategy and blue sky thinking. While it sounds a bit daunting, productivity expert David Allen says it doesn’t have to be. In order to have our best ideas we don’t need unlimited time, just an intentional mindset and space. 

“It takes zero time to have an innovative idea or to make a decision, but if you don’t have psychic [and physical] space, those things are not necessarily impossible, but they’re suboptimal,” says Allen.

Stepping away from the day to day to reset and grow together. Thoughtful and purposeful use of time. And having the space to make it happen. These are the fundamentals for creative bonding, strategizing, and re-setting as a team. 

How Industrious and LMCC are making team offsites accessible

New York City — the city that never sleeps — might seem like an impossible place to think about disconnecting but it’s more accessible than ever this summer. 

Industrious recently partnered with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) Arts Center at Governors Island to create a unique summer offsite experience for teams of every size and shape. 

Featuring ample space to get inspired, artist workshops that bond teams through creation and collaboration, and catered food and beverage to nourish creative thinking, the LMCC Arts Center is the perfect place for companies to bring teams together and find their flow. Plus, it’s only eight minutes away by ferry from Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Octaura, a financial platform company based out of Industrious’s PENN 1 location, recently took their team to Governors Island for a combination of culture-building and as a solution for an affordable and energizing offsite. 

Luis Carballo, CTO of Octaura, said the idea of an offsite seemed inaccessible but was something that the company wanted to do for a while. When they discovered the offsite at LMCC, it created the space both literally and figuratively for a creative reset. Octaura’s product and tech teams found a unique opportunity to disconnect from their screens and bond with one another. 

Watch this Instagram Reel of the Octaura team experiencing a one-of-a-kind offsite on Governors Island

Sometimes, all we need is a bit of time away from a desk, and the productivity possibilities are endless. 

Check out the full details for LMCC x Industrious here.