ABC Fitness employees based on the East Coast gathered for a day of activities in the city. Most had never met in person, and belong to different teams.
The goal was to create personal connections in a remote-first company. Spaciously was brought in to help the ABC Fitness Culture team plan for the day. 25 employees attended.
- 2 - 3 p.m. - Trivia on Rooftop (Midtown)
- 3 - 5 p.m. - Tie Dye Workshop
- 6 - 8 p.m. - Dinner at Italian Restaurant (West Village)
- 8 - 10 p.m. - Optional Activities, e.g. comedy club
Trivia on the Roof
Because most people joining the offsite had not met in person before, it was important to start things with an icebreaker. Trivia was a good option because it allowed to give a theme to the event: questions about New York City's history and culture.
A nice plus was to set the event on a rooftop. We rented a space in Midtown, Manhattan, close to the hotel where half the team was staying.
As employees arrived on the rooftop, they could grab pastries from a local baker, and apple cider from a New York farm. We bought those at the Union Square farmer's market.
Note that when planning something outdoors in New York, you would always need a backup option in case of rain. In our case, there was a common area with couches.
Trivia is fun if the tempo is right. Before the event, have all questions printed in as many sheets as you plan on having groups. 6 groups of 3/4 worked well for our crowd. Have one person be the master of ceremony - they ask questions and keep track of scores, and one assistant in charge of passing new question sheets at every round.
We used about 60 questions, in 4 rounds. We took inspiration from this list, which is a good mix of history, culture, TV.
Some things you might not expect: wind could blow away the question sheets, some people might cheat on their phone (!).
Tie Dye Workshop
Next, we had everyone come downstairs for the main activity: an introduction to Tie Dye.
Local artist Florencia Escudero took over and gave the group a short introduction:
The goal was for the group to experience something special about New York. Florencia is active in the Brooklyn art scene, and shared this energy with the group.
For a group of 25, you will need 2 instructors - Florencia had 1 assistant. The workshop lasted about 1.5 hours, with the first half more serious - most people had never tie dyed before - and the second half more laid back, with people chatting and laughing.
ABC Fitness' culture team wanted the day to be laid back, so as to promote conversations between team members, but also engaging, so that everyone could learn something new.
Take it home! An additional benefit of this activity is that each team member went home with an ABC Fitness shirt that they customized themselves. It's a fund way to share back with their family what they did on that work trip.
Some teams might prefer a taxi, but ABC Fitness wanted to experience something that locals want to avoid: the New York subway. Each person was given an itinerary, and went on a 20 minute door-to-door trip to the restaurant. A great occasion to unwind, break out in small groups, and experience the streets of the Big Apple.
Warning: a group travelling together is slower then you would expect. Account for a lot of buffer time, and share written itinerary to everyone.
West Village Dinner
We booked Mr Capri in the West Village: they serve great food (4.5+ Google rating), are in a central location (1 block from Washington Square), and have a back room that can be booked for a group of about 30. Their staff was very helpful, too.
New York has the best Italian cuisine in the US. We called other options in the neighborhood - with good ratings and big enough for a group of 30:
- Trattoria Pesca Pasta (easy to book, à la carte)
- Tappo NYC (max cap. 25)
- Toscana 49 (budget to reserve 2nd floor: $6K for 50 people)
- Emmy Squared (2 locations, the one in the East Village is easier to book)
Many options to go out after dinner in the West Village. At this point, the team was free to break out in different groups. The options we gave were:
- Comedy Club: the best one in town (and quite possibly, the world) is the Comedy Cellar. Book in advance!
- Jazz bar: across the street from the Comedy Cellar, you can listen to jazz concerts at the equally famous Blue Note Jazz Club
- Bar games: for a more laid back experience, head to Cellar Dog (formerly Fat Cat)
Book this itinerary package with Spaciously for $250 per person. The package includes activities, dinner and professional photography.
Tight budget? We’ll help you create a Manhattan or Brooklyn itinerary on a budget (starting at $70 per person). Email us at email@example.com
Places to stay
For a budget of about $300 per night, we recommend the New Yorker: it's central, clean, and set in a beautiful Art Deco building.
The event had to reflect the company's values: One Team, Growth Mindset and Best Life. A crafty activity lets employees collaborate in a fun way while learning something new. Involving passionate local vendors is a way for ABC Fitness to give back to the community. ABC's Culture Team is in charge of bringing employees together at events across the globe. But even smaller events take a lot of time to plan, especially when in another region.