Labor Day is 5 weeks away and if you don’t have a company picnic planned (either for the end of the season or the end of the quarter) for that weekend you still have time to plan – not just for that weekend, but for any time in September.
Planning for your company picnic is like planning for any regular picnic, but probably on a much larger scale than many are used to. You also want to make sure you’re giving people the freedom to be themselves without feeling that they are “at work.” Having a picnic is a form of employee appreciation and you want them to feel appreciated!
We are often called upon to provide rental equipment for company picnics and we wanted to give you some important considerations so that you can have a great event.
1. What’s your budget?
It’s annoying, perhaps, but you have to start with this question. Think about what the maximum number of people who could come to the event, take your budget for the event, and divide by the maximum number. This is your “per person” budget. Keep in mind that while everyone is not going to “consume” equal amounts of food, entertainment, giveaways, that this is often a helpful and *concrete* way to examine your spend. Many small businesses say anywhere from $25-$50 a person is a reasonable figure.
It’s a picnic so you want food that’s easy on the utensils – burgers, hot dogs, and bbq items are easy and expected. Catering will drive up your cost but may please the employees. On the other hand, don’t presume you don’t have a “grillmaster” among your staff – someone who lives to grill who might volunteer his/her skills in exchange for a door price or something fun. Then your cost here will go down.
How big of a tent will you need? How many tables and chairs? Do you need fans? We can help you with the visualization and planning of this – we’re always just a phone call away: 845-794-0100.
Remember – you are with work people but it’s not work! You wouldn’t believe the excitement and chatter that a giveaway generates, especially if you can tie it into work prior to the event. For example, people could get “raffle entries” by being nominated by other employees for particular actions/activities at work. The small prizes are easy: movie tickets, gift cards, gift baskets. Have the big prize be substantial, but not overly so!
A DJ? A band? Magicians? Games?
The answer is yes – to whatever makes sense for your group. Music of any kind in the background really adds to a relaxed atmosphere and can also lead to watching little kids dance, which is always a fun sight!
2. Who’s going to help with this?
Not all your employees will want to help with this event, but make sure they have the opportunity to help! Ask for volunteers for a planning committee, with perhaps paid lunches for the meetings as an incentive (pizza is easy and inexpensive). They know who eats what (I didn’t know Jan was a vegetarian), whose secret hobbies might be a great part of the entertainment (Bob’s a ventriloquist?), and what kids will like for entertainment.
3. Where do you want to be?
Crowds are bad. You want to be able to manage your party and sometimes visitors (welcome and unwelcome) can mess with that. You don’t need to go to someplace desolate, but you also shouldn’t be at a very crowded place. It will make the event less special, and ultimately, less of an event, even.
4. What kind of entertainment/games?
Make sure everyone is included! Have physical games like volleyball, but also fun skill games like a bean bag toss. Having children and grandparents at this event will be a given so make sure that they can participate in the festivities too!
In all of this planning don’t forget that this event is a chance for your company culture to shine. Have fun, let your employees relax a bit, and reward them for their hard work throughout the year! The more planning you do for this event, the more fun it will be and the more your employees will come back to work refreshed, with good memories, ready to get back to work!