How to Plan a Company Picnic
The daily grind of office life can get exhausting. We all know the feeling that comes with sitting at a desk, focused intently on the task at hand, while sunlight streams tauntingly through the nearest window. Cabin fever sets in, everyone gets desperate for a piece of the sunshine, and it’s the perfect time for a company picnic. But how, you ask, do you go about setting up a picnic for your company? After all, you’re running a big operation here; you can’t just gather everyone together at the local playground! Don’t worry though, planning a company picnic is easy – if you know what you’re doing. Heed our sage advice, party planners, and your company’s picnic is sure to be fun for the whole of your staff (as well as a great source of Vitamin D).
Have A Plan: Careful planning and organization are the keys to any corporate event, and a picnic is no exception. Before you can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, there are quite a few matters you’ll need to get running smoothly. Take the date, for example. While this may seem like an arbitrary decision, the kind you make by flipping open your desk calendar and blindly plopping your finger onto a square, the day you decide on is actually of paramount importance. It’s critical to pick a date and time that suits most everyone’s schedules. Pick a date well in advance, so your staff can plan accordingly, or even schedule something during the normal working hours.
Once you’ve settled on the date, it’s time to start planning right away. You’ll need to decide on food, entertainment, approximate party size, and use that information to find the perfect venue. Do you want to play loud music? You’ll have to find a park that permits private parties to crank it up. Do you want to barbeque? Find a venue with built-in grills, or find out if the event space you’ve chosen will let you bring a camping grill. Planning on serving spirits? You definitely need to check with the park or venue’s regulations, to make sure your company isn’t slapped with a fine for trying to have fun. Keep binders and notebooks handy during the planning process, so nothing falls by the wayside and interferes with your team’s good time. And, once all the details are squared away, don’t forget to throw down a picnic blanket and have some well-deserved fun, too!
Have Some Food: If you’re going to provide for a whole hungry company, it’s always smart to err on the side of excess. Company picnics typically include an employee’s family, so you can never be totally sure who is coming to dinner. If you’re having your meal catered, provide your caterer with a rough estimate slightly higher than you actually anticipate (we suggest rounding up to the nearest whole number). If you’re planning on a more home-style soiree, with grilled burgers, hot dogs and home-cooked potato salad, ask your staff to pitch in with a dish of their own. You can purchase the meat in bulk, while you staff samples the side dishes to their hearts’ content. Lastly, if families are invited to a company picnic, don’t forget about the little ones!
However, when planning the menu for your picnic or barbeque, it is important to be wary of those members of your team with food allergies. This can be as simple as letting the caterer know which foods to steer clear of, but the issue takes on new light if you go the potluck route (as anyone who attended elementary school remembers, homemade goodies can be a dangerous prospect for our allergy-ridden peers). We’re all adults now, so there’s no reason to ban homemade dishes outright, but it is important that no guest’s picnic become a near death experience. Ask those in the company who are bringing food to make a note of the ingredients they used, so your meal can be just as worry-free as it is delicious.
Have Fun For Everyone: So here you are, enjoying beautiful weather with your diligent co-workers. The burgers are grilled to perfection, the drinks are cool and refreshing, and the air is buzzing with laughter and happy conversation. Now what? This could be the perfect time for company bonding or icebreaker games, and many bosses would tell you to seize the opportunity, without question. But this decision can be a hit or major miss, depending on the vibe of your staff. Of course, you should plan some party games or entertainment, but relax and play the party by ear. If things are going smoothly and people are enjoying the party without structured games and activities, let them be: the picnic is for them, after all.