The ‘off-site’ is still popular, even for workers who are never on site.

 “Fun to be had! Fun. To. Be. Had!” Todd Zanzinger crowed to an audience of remote tech workers on Zoom. It was the opening ceremony of an I.T. company’s virtual Olympics, and music blared as Mr. Zanzinger, whose Zoom display name read “Hype Guy Todd,” walked 69 teams of co-workers through the rules of lip-sync karaoke.

In the world of tech companies, off-site retreats were once the stuff of legend: a Beyoncé concert for Uber employees in Las Vegas. A lavish summer camp for WeWork employees in the English countryside.

During the pandemic, they have taken a turn for the tamer: remote trivia. Virtual escape room. Three more hours on Zoom.

When the pandemic hit, flights, hotel blocks, and banquet dinners were canceled. But instead of shelving the idea of off-sites, companies strove to recreate the magic remotely. They planned events online, and in recent months, some have crept back into in-person and hybrid events.

Why, in a time when many workers are not on-site to begin with, are bosses pushing so hard to retain the off-site, a concept that by definition depended on going somewhere else?

Off-sites help companies convey messages efficiently to many employees, build trust among workers and make staff members feel treated well without paying them extra. So managers are hanging on for dear life. Off-sites are not just about leaving the office. They are about breaking up daily routines that, after nearly two pandemic years, can feel monotonous.

But Google Hangouts is no team trip to Hawaii. Faced with the prospect of planning an engaging suite of activities for a remote or hybrid workforce, managers have rushed to consultants for help executing off-sites.

“The trajectory of our businesses has been crazy since March 2020,” said Mat MacDonell, the chief executive of the Offsite Company, which primarily plans events for start-ups. (Mr. Zanginger works for him.) He added, “We’ve been in hyper-growth mode.”

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