It was ONTRAPORT’s third work-sponsored trip of the year. We were covered in sweat and mud seeped over the tops of our boots, but no one complained. Under everyone’s darting, bloodshot eyes and soaking wet bandanas was an ear-to-ear grin. No cell phones, no internet — just ourselves, the jungle, the Achuar tribe, and a way of life that few Westerners know. All 15 of us were uncomfortable and couldn’t be more happy about it; the Ecuadorian Rainforest will do that to a group of city slickers.

So what happens when you land in the jungle with your coworkers? Exactly what you’d expect. You bond and learn about the true identity that hides behind the facade of office manners. There’s no faster way to intimately understand another person than by living with them in the jungle for six days.

We came back from that trip changed. Of course Ecuador and the jungle had a part to play in that, but if it wasn’t for ONTRAPORT I never would have taken that trip.

No matter the size of your operation, hosting work-sponsored trips should be a priority. You don’t have to make it happen three times a year or venture all the way to South America.  Even a work-sponsored weekend can do wonders for a team’s sanity. No one flourishes when they sit at a desk all day.

This article distills the three main benefits of work-sponsored trips from the POV of a humble attendee:

1. Morale

Most of us at ONTRAPORT dedicate 50+ hours a week to our work. Many have been working here for over four years, so to say we’re committed is an understatement. Work trips are our reward for all the hard work we put in.

Sure, it’s a financial burden taking 40+ team members to Park City, Utah for a weekend of shenanigans, but seeing the team have an incredible time at an event outside of the office is also a reward for the organizers. In my experience, work-sponsored trips are a catalyst for cyclical appreciation that continues for months after coming home. If your team seems to be burning out, consider taking them to do something non-work related on a Friday. You might even find yourself liberated from dwelling on your bottom line for a few hours.

2. Team Building

In Ecuador, we all agreed that no work talk would be tolerated. Anyone caught discussing work would be verbally shamed with a loud buzzing noise as if they’d given the wrong answer on a game show. It was all friendly and quite effective.

Even though you’re traveling with co-workers, it’s nice to shut that channel off for a while. The quiet creates an opportunity for genuine team-building. Not that corporate-sanctioned, uncomfortably personal kind of team-building — I mean the sort of bonding that occurs when people are having a great time around each other.

3. Foster Culture

The team you have now is the group with whom you’ve decided to partner. They will determine the future of your company from profit margin to culture. As a CEO (especially in an operation of fewer than 10), making sure your team is happy and motivated should be a high priority. Hosting a trip, and leaving work out of the equation, is not only a way to boost morale and bring your team together, it’s a way of encouraging your company culture to flourish.

In addition to that, you’ll get an inside look at how your team really engages with each other when the expectations of work are peeled away. By providing them this opportunity, you’ll increase the loyalty that they feel toward you and your project.

What Makes a Great Trip?

It’s not about how much money you spend; it’s the environment that you create for your team. Extravagance isn’t the point and doesn’t guarantee that you’ll achieve the benefits we’ve outlined in this article.

Committing to a work trip takes a certain amount of dedication. You’re investing in rewards that require time to mature. The morale boost, camaraderie and reinvigorated culture will manifest in the work that your team produces.

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About Chris Tarello

Chris Tarello is a Feature Writer at Ontraport. With an interest in business and technology, and a background in marketing and creative writing, Chris delivers unique perspectives from the connected generation.