What Can We Expect in 2021?

If there was a time in history when a board retreat was as necessary as it was criticized, it began in 2020. In previous years, an organization might have come under fire for mismanaging funds and splurging on retreats while burning a hole through the annual budget and even charitable funds. This year, it was the sheer interest in meeting in-person and spreading a potentially deadly disease that understandably drew the most ire from the public. 

The board retreat had, for the most part, retreated.

Ordinarily, a well-managed Board Retreat is meant to be productive and encourage a diverse group to find common ground in a neutral environment. Planning and hosting a retreat (a feat in itself) also serves as a “thank you” from the organization for the past 12 months of (often) volunteer board leadership, whether it be financial, operational or strategic guidance.  

“Our clients are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and that more alternatives will be available in 2021, which could make the board retreat a reality again,” said Lisa Anne Thompson Taylor, president of Board Veritas, a board governance and training firm in Washington, DC.

Our clients are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and that more alternatives will be available in 2021.
Lisa Anne Thompson Taylor, president of Board Veritas.

In 2021, however, we’ll start to see more urgency for peer-to-peer interaction and addressing unprecedented make-or-break issues that need immediate action. How exactly can that be carried out if most of the world is under heavy quarantine? 

Here are 5 Board Retreat predictions for 2021 that are starting to materialize in these highly unusual circumstances:

  • Easy, Rapid Testing for Retreat Attendees
    Add thermometers as a line item… some organizations are requiring that attendees be tested twice –  3 days before the event and once more on-site (with a temperature check) to ensure the safety of all participants.
  • Virtual Board Retreats Will Feature State-of-the-Art Programs and Training Exercises Using Emerging Tech
    Organizations will take steps to “move their board retreat online” and direct funds this year to enhancing virtual platforms or Virtual Reality software on-site, to continue maintaining distance.
  • “Mind, Body Health”- Themed Retreats Will Get More Creative
    Organizations will implement best practices into their retreat framework… opening with meditations, visualizations interspersing physical activity between sessions and providing healthy and plant based menus as standard. Leaders will choose to draw inspirations from natural settings and the resilience of nature instead of a conference room
  • More Hotels Will Offer Unique On-site Alternatives to Stay Distanced
    Social distancing retreats are “the new luxury,” travel expert John DiScala recently told CNBC. where keyless, no-interaction check-in procedures are de rigueur. Isolated, outdoor locations with amenities will stay in demand
  • Retreat Planners Will Be More Strategic in Geographic Location
    Carefully considering the methods and time of travel will dictate the geography – the more isolated the better.

For more information on hiring a Board Veritas Advisor or details about our service offerings and training, please contact:

Board Veritas
Maura O’Neill,

Board Veritas Team Member

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