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What to Wear to Your Company’s Next Away Day

Team-building exercises. Trust falls. The corporate away day is something many look forward to and many dread, whether it’s held every month or just once a year. This time away from the office, which can actually stretch from one day to several, is an exercise firms use to bring their employees closer together and improve overall moral. Some employees see it as a free day off from work, while others view it as a friendly competition among peers. In many cases, it’s both, but with a definite reason behind it. Employers don’t just want you to enjoy a relaxing day away from stuffy cubicles and office spaces. They want you to learn something and to feel more connected with both the organisation you work for and the people you work with at the end of the day.

Making the most of an away day is important. It will help you get a better understanding of how your fellow colleagues think and work. It will help you better understand what the values of your company are as well. Employers know that, in the end, this results in improved engagement, commitment, effort and passion in the workplace.

So, what do you need to know before your next away day?

Away Day Dress Code

While you may wear a power suit in the office, men’s suits are typically not the type of attire to wear to an away day. The actual dress code will often depend on the type of away day and the events that will take place. Some are held out in the wilderness, where you’ll be asked to build rafts at the edge of a rive or climb trees. Others are held in strategically-planned urban settings with various activities.

Your best bet is to arrive in a smart-casual ensemble that toes the line between work-ready and fun. Consider a Prince of Wales check double cuff tailored fit shirt in red and port tailored leg cords for a down-to-earth, but stylish look. Pair them with accessories like a brown plaited leather belt and suede boots that can not only look great, but will keep your feet dry and warm in the event of an outdoor activity. 

Be prepared for anything by dressing in layers that can easily come on or off, depending on where the event is held. A lambswool crew neck sweater will help keep you warm against the chill of an autumn night while you sit around a campfire with your colleagues. A men’s tweed jacket or quilted coat adds an extra layer of protection for outdoor events.

No matter what you decide to wear, it’s important to be comfortable and dress in a way that will suit almost any occasion. You may be outdoors doing group exercises, but you might also be sitting in a meeting room discussing the business goals of the company and your role in them. A smart, but casual, look addresses most needs.

Making the Most of Your Away Day

 There are plenty of articles out there instructing employers on how they can make their next away day eventful. However, there’s little information available to prepare employees for their role in the day. Here are a few tips that will help you enjoy the day and come away with some new insights and information.

 

  • Participate- Team-building exercises are a tried and true part of any away day, and you’re going to experience at least one or two during this event. They may be cleverly disguised as fun projects or activities, but most employers let you know ahead of time what the goal of those activities actually are. Some may not be your cup of tea; raft building to an individual afraid of water may seem like a nasty trick. However, no matter what the exercise is, try to participate as much as possible. There’s a reason it’s a part of your day. It’s meant to help you learn something, so make the most of it.

 

  • Listen Carefully- Many companies use away days as an opportunity to collaborate with their employees and provide them with news on the company. You may not be wearing suits and sitting in an office, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be paying attention. The goals, budget and costs of the business are information not readily available to you. If an employer is sharing this data, it’s so you can be better involved and have a better understanding of what the company is doing. This is your career; listen carefully.

 

  • Have Fun- Away days can be a bit awkward at first. You may not feel comfortable sitting down for a meal with your boss or falling backward into the arms of Susan from accounting. That’s understandable, but you should do your best to try and relax. This isn’t a day where slacking is frowned upon. It’s a day when you can let your hair down a little and have a little fun.

 

  • Give Your Opinion- Some employers take time out of the day to give you the opportunity to discuss new projects or strategies. The neutral space, away from the office, may help you and your team come up with new ideas and explore new thoughts. If this happens, don’t stand back and hold your tongue. Get your opinion out there, be engaging and provide some ideas of your own if you have them. The same goes for the typical survey provided at the end of the away day by your employer, asking what you thought of the day and what you would like to see happen at the next event. If you don’t open up and give your opinion, no one will ever know your thoughts, so be honest.

 

  • Turn Off Your Cell Phone- Smart phones are brilliant. They connect to anyone at any time in almost any place. However, they can be distracting at an away day. Turn them off so you can focus on what’s happening around you. If you need to check on your spouse or children, do so periodically through the day, then turn the phone back off.

 

Want to make the most of your next away day? Dress appropriate in layers with a tweed jacket, stylish cords and rugged suede boots. Participate as much as possible and let yourself have a little fun. 

By Brook Taverner 5 September 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments