Company picnics are a staple of summer. They’re also opportunities to get to know co-workers and their families in a whole new way. Although it can be fun to stand around and socialize, these functions can be a little dry. Sure, there’s someone grilling hot dogs, kids are running around, and maybe you’ll be forced into a game or two, but ultimately, attendance at these events can become obligatory instead of something employees look forward to. At OTR, we simply don’t believe in events like this. Here are some of our best tips for holding an event that can’t miss the mark.
1. Consider planning a theme for the picnic and get your employees involved ahead of time. Accept suggestions, then have people vote. Make it low-pressure, but encourage dressing in theme and even bringing themed dishes. One picnic this summer we are planning for a corporate event is carnival theme. complete with pop-a-can and old school whack-a-mole! These nostalgic games are sure to make anyone feel young again!
2. Although it’s tempting to force games on people, remember that not everyone is the same. For introverts, this can create anxiety that may cause them to skip the event altogether. Instead, Make sure to provide individual games or activities (tie dying indigo cheese cloths, or make your own desk accessory), to group activities of all sizes, corn hole, relay races, hampered ball racing, or even a scavenger hunt.
3. Serve food that encourage interaction. Although it’s tempting to just plop a bowl of potato salad and some hotdogs down and call it a day, large tables with plenty of finger foods keep guests coming back for more. Interactive stations, like make your own slider bars, or cotton candy being spun on site are exciting for people to get hands on.Try pies on a stick, fried mac ‘n’ cheese balls, pigs in a blanket, and fruit skewers. If you are on more of a budget, food trucks are a great way to save some $! Providing utensils, plates and self contained, there's no need for rentals or overhead of staff--this can usually cut your bill down by at least a 1/4th, and can provide a fun, non traditional option.
4. Remember your guests with kids and provide special, even silly entertainment for them. Fill baskets with costumes (you can get these cheaply at the dollar store) coloring books and crayons, and some games they can get into. You can provide anything from a teepee to a bounce house to encourage them to bond. Parents these days are so used to the assumption that they’ll just stick an iPhone or an iPad in their kids’ hands to keep them entertained, guests will be pleased you thought of their kids (and happy because they’ll get some much-needed adult time). At OTR, we have had custom pinatas made, which are a win for kids and adults alike!
5. End the day with something that pleases both kids and the adults’ inner kid. Ideally, this leaves people with a fun take home token from the day as well. A sundae bar encourages interaction and brings a fun, active, DIY element to tie the day together. Don’t forget the sprinkles! If you don’t have storage for ice cream, try a popcorn bar or a candy station. Just be sure to put it in the shade and provide bags big enough for people to bring some sweets home with them.
Be sure to provide items that speak to your guests’ needs. Suntan lotion, bug spray, hand wipes, and fly swatters are all great to have on-hand. Maybe branded sunglasses are the swag for the day, and a lifesaver for anyone who forgot to bring theirs from home!
It's the small details that make the event, so putting those extra touches into the day do matter and will sure to go a long way!