Hosting a “Topsy Turvy” Retreat

Hosting a “Topsy Turvy” Retreat

For our last quarterly retreat, we decided to have the event on April 1, 2019. April 1 is obviously April Fool’s Day! As Mark Twain once said, “Today is a day that upon which we are reminded of what we are the other three hundred and sixty-four.” But not everyone enjoys being tricked, so we decided to make our theme “Topsy Turvy” instead. Check out how we incorporated this theme into the different parts of the day.

Warm up with improv

We started the day off with some improv word games called Barney and present! Why improv you might ask? First of all, it is so much fun. Secondly, statistics show that improvisation is one of the best trainings for companies. This is because of saying “yes and” to your colleague.

“Simply put, “yes, and” means performers accept whatever their scene partners do or say as part of the reality of the scene and then build on it with their own contributions. They must be present in the moment, listening carefully, and contributing freely. These skills turn out to be particularly useful in workplaces that rely on adaptability.”


Once warmed up and laughing, we started the real work by reviewing the projects and metrics completed in the previous quarter. Then, we set goals for the next quarter by choosing a new theme and projects to focus on.

Breakfast for Lunch!

For lunch that day we decided what could be more topsy turvy than having breakfast for lunch and some “sushi” (rice crispy treats with Swedish fish on top). After all, studies show that taking lunch breaks increase productivity and concentration.

After lunch, we got back to work. We managed to get through all our goals for the day and felt ready to start the next quarter as a team. The conversations we have are always a little topsy turvy, since a good team knows how to argue and discuss productively.

Dinner and Illusions

For dinner, we chose to eat at The Crooked Knife, mostly because of the name and the funky decor. As an added bonus, it was around the corner from our merrymaking spot: the Museum of Illusions! The museum is a cool spot with lots of “insta-worthy” photo ops that teaches you about optical illusions and brain teasers. Consider our minds blown. The team had a wonderful time at both dinner and the museum, which were great for bonding without thinking about work. There were some great photos taken.

The Challenges and Lessons

Staying on theme for this retreat was a little challenging. It could easily be turned in to an Alice in Wonderland theme, which we’ve already done. Or, we could have made it about fooling and tricking people. Sabina and I worked diligently to make sure everyone felt comfortable and safe, had fun, but also stayed on edge as to what could happen next.

Overall, this retreat was a success. My biggest suggestions when planning any retreat is to stay true to the theme, do your research, make sure the whole team will have a good time, and be flexible.

Swift Kick

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