The entire point of a company outing is to help promote a strong company culture in which employees feel connected to one another and in which employee happiness is a priority. That’s why it’s so worth the effort to attempt to pull off a good one. It’s tricky, requiring careful thought and, of course, extra work for you.
But if the outing is a hit, you’re the office hero. If your announcement is met with eye rolls or if the event turns out to be a dud, you stand to lose your title as the office Fun Specialist.
Don’t let this put you off, though. Employee happiness is a key ingredient in building an incredible company culture. A strong internal culture can have an outsized impact on your brand, products, and even customer experience.
PS: Check out the Definitive Guide to Employee Engagement
01. Rent a house by the beach or in the mountains
Renting a house — especially an amazing one — for a weekend is a great way to get out of town for the weekend with your team. Choose a location that will pique everyone’s interest. Airbnb’s listings may be worth a look.
Use the first half of the first day of your trip to brainstorm new ideas. It doesn’t have to be anything formal; it’s just important to take some time to step away together and reflect on your organization. Then it’s time to relax, have some fun, and let team-building occur organically.
If it costs just a little more to get a place that everyone will be excited about, go for it. Oftentimes, a dazzling setting can inspire fresh, new ideas to explore.
02. Go-kart racing
If there’s a go-kart track nearby, take the team for some races that can get everyone amped-up. They’re a fun, friendly form of competition that the entire team can enjoy.
You may want to consider having a go-kart event annually so you can give your fastest employee a trophy each year.
Most go-kart facilities also have video games and a bar, so those who might not want to drive will be entertained, too.
As millennials take over the workforce, it’s important to recognize that finding genuine meaning in their work is likely to give these younger workers a good feeling deep inside. One study found that 75% of millennials think it’s fairly or very important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit.
So why not make your next company outing a volunteer event? Take the team to a food bank, homeless shelter, retirement home, or cleanup project. As an added bonus, these events double as great team-building activities.
Stumped on where exactly to go? VolunteerMatch can help you find volunteering opportunities near you.
04. Happy hours
This may be so obvious it didn’t occur to you.
If your employees enjoy a beverage, happy hour can be a great way to unwind and share some laughs with coworkers after a long week. You may even take the team out for some liquid socializing on a regular basis.
Bowling is always a ton of fun because it’s a win-win.
If employees have bowling skills, a little friendly competition is always welcome. If not, bowling can be a happily goofy experience for everyone involved, especially if there’s a snack bar, or a bar bar, around.
It’s a great platform for lightweight, upbeat interaction as bowlers wait for their turns. And who knows? Maybe one of your employees will bowl a perfect 300.
06. Beer- or wine-tasting tour
Think of it as a happy hour (or four) on wheels.
This company outing idea is best during the summertime unless you live in a place where it’s sunny year-round. All you need to do is rent a charter bus service to take your team around to some local wineries, vineyards, or breweries for a tasting tour.
You don’t want anyone who imbibes to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after this kind of event. So make sure you arrange designated drivers or send your workers home safely in an Uber.
07. BBQ and games at the park
If you’re on a budget, a BBQ at the park is a low-cost way to get your team out of the office when the weather is welcoming.
Frisbee, cornhole, and ladder golf are mainstays when our team hosts an event like this. Check out this list of DIY lawn games if you’re looking for even more ideas to keep the fun coming.
You’re really never too old to play arcade games. Make an afternoon at the arcade even more fun by splitting the group up into teams to see who can get the most tickets. The winning team’s prize can be something like a lunch together on the company or gift cards to Amazon.
Most areas have an arcade somewhere nearby, maybe even inside a local superstore.
09. Sporting event
Get the team together after work and head out to a local sports game. If tickets to a pro sports team are out of your budget, consider going to a college or semi-pro game. Oftentimes, the enthusiasm of amateurs more than makes up for the prowess of a professional organization. Seeing minor leaguers give it their all can be downright infectious for your own team.
Employee happiness is such an important thing. What kind of work can you expect from someone who wants in their heart to be somewhere else? Outings like the ones we’ve suggested here can help you sustain that good feeling in your team.
Do be aware of your own team’s preferences and sensitivities as you plan, though. Happy hour won’t work for non-drinking employees, for example, and may even make them feel like outsiders. Sporting events may not hold as much appeal for couch potatoes as they do for some others.
Bottom line: It’s important to consider your entire team as you devise an outing. No problem — after all, you’re the office Fun Specialist, right?
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