So, it has fallen on you to plan the company picnic this year. Maybe it’s the first year your company is having a picnic, or maybe it is just the first year you are in charge of it, but expectations are high and you don’t know where to begin. The first hurdle is the date. Summer is a time when most families plan vacations and the sun and the beach beckon. You will want to avoid holiday weekends like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day as people will already have long standing plans. If you plan the picnic early enough then everyone will have time to clear their schedule and the possible venues will be easier to book. Usually Saturday will be best to avoid church commitments, but if your picnic can be any other day of the week venues will be more available and more affordable.
Now, you have narrowed down a few dates that could work, but what will you all do? Movies and blogs talk about paintball, and ropes courses, golf retreats, and luaus with fire-walking; but unless you are all young, fit, adventurous, have the same interests, and a huge budget chances are these aren’t going to work. At Inkhead we have people with physical limitations that would leave them out of many of those activities, and it isn’t just the employees you need to think about. Will everyone be bringing their family? You need to make sure there are activities for all ages and all abilities. Sometimes a simple solution is the best solution.
The best Inkhead company parties have been either at a state park or at an indoor amusement center like Dave & Busters. The beauty of a state park is that there is plenty of space for a reasonable price. You can customize the experience, and plan group games and competitions. We like to play bingo for gift cards and prizes, grill out, and ride paddle boats on the lake. The convenience of an indoor amusement center is that they have corporate packages that include food, game tokens, and activities like bowling. There is something for everyone.
The pressure to make each outing memorable and exciting for everyone in the office can be overwhelming. Remember, you don’t need to do this all on your own. We have found that the more involved you get everyone else, the more excited they are for the big day. If you have a coworker who makes amazing food, ask them to bring a bit to share. Put out an email requesting people suggest and bring board games to play. Maybe someone has a home karaoke setup. The best way to find out more about the people you work with every day is to ask for their help. Without it, we would never have found out that the accounting department can beat the art department at Pictionary, or that our CEO is an amazing Bingo caller. In the end, those are the things everyone remembers, not the decorations.