Company social events give employees an opportunity to blow off some steam while mingling and networking with other staff. Office Christmas parties and summer celebrations are also great for morale, as folks get to see the “real” person behind the professional persona.
However, planning a social event for your office can be stressful. You’ll be given a budget to fund the fun and will be expected to put together an event that all employees enjoy.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tried-and-tested methods that you can use to engage your fellow employees.
Company Social Event Ideas
Defining the Purpose of your Company Social Event
Every company social event should have a clear guiding purpose that will guide your decision-making. Without a clear purpose, you’ll end up spending money on venues, catering, and activities that are under-utilized and fail to garner the excitement of your fellow employees.
A clear purpose can significantly improve engagement, too. Folks want to attend an event that has a clear theme and will be excited to show up in fancy dress or kick-back during a Charlie-Brown-themed Christmas gathering. However, you may find that deciding on a theme is a little trickier than you first assumed.
Lean on your administrative hard skills when brainstorming a purpose and theme. Conduct a little market research when looking for themed corporate events and look into venues and travel tickets before you announce an office vacation.
If you’re working on a tighter budget, lean on the seasonal calendar when defining the purpose of your company’s social event. There’s almost always a celebration or holiday that you can latch on to and attendees will love barbecuing for the 4th of July or letting their spooky side out around Halloween.
Establishing a Budget for your Company Social Event
A clear understanding of your budget is key to the success of your social event. Without a clear budget, you may accidentally overspend on catering or book a venue that puts your firm into the red that month.
If you’re having a hard time getting enough funds for a social event, remind decision-makers that company social events are some of the best-loved employee benefits. Happy hours and bowling trips build morale in your team and show your staff that you authentically care about their mental health and well-being.
Once you’ve secured some funding, be sure to break your budget down to account for food, drinks, venue hire, and travel costs. You’d be surprised by how quickly your funds will disappear after you’ve spent a hundred dollars on balloons. Instead, work backward and establish the cost of big-ticket items like venue hire before you start to spend big on smaller details like decor.
Choosing a Venue for your Company Social Event
Hiring a venue is notoriously expensive for company social events. Party venues typically cost over $100 per hour, though some locations may set you back several thousand dollars before the event is over.
If you’re looking to save some cash, consider hosting the event outdoors at a local park. You’ll need to gain permission from your local government first, as some parks do not allow party-goers on site. Outdoor events are sustainable, too, as you won’t have to heat the space or pay for energy bills.
You can embolden your company’s environmental, social, and government (ESG) policies by making your outdoor event more sustainable. Encourage attendees to carpool and consider using alternate power sources if they plan on playing music. Temporary solar panels can easily power stereos and eco-conscious employees will appreciate the efforts you make to reduce carbon emissions at the event.
Everyone loves attending a well-organized company social event. However, some folks may be used to feeling left out while at corporate parties due to poor planning and a disregard for disabilities and diverse needs.
You can make your event more inclusive by assigning roles to folks who want to help with the planning. Some of your co-workers will get a real kick out of planning an event and will jump at the chance to plan decorations or photograph party-goers. This will help them feel included and ensure that you don’t overlook any important details like mobility accommodations or dietary restrictions.
Ensure the event is accessible for all by liaising with the venue before you book. Find out if they have ramps and accessible walkways, and offer to provide signage to help guide guests during your events. If possible, designate a quiet zone within the event space so folks can take a time out should they need a break from the noise and crowds.
A company social event can build morale and help folks decrease their stress after a busy quarter. However, if you’re the one planning the event, you may feel a little anxious about organizing the big day. Start by establishing a clear purpose and theme. This will guide your decision-making and help you set a budget. Consider opting for an outdoor event space, as parks are usually cheaper, more accessible, and eco-friendly than event centers and private function rooms.
Author Bio: Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, business, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.