April 2, 2018

It’s Time to Start Planning Your Company’s Summer Picnic

By Paul Bieber

It sure is. April Fools’ Day is over and it’s time to start planning some important fun and team building at your company’s summer picnic. A picnic is a great way to meet the family of your team and to let them meet you and your family. All they hear is that you are the boss at work who makes everyone work hard and who doesn’t do any work himself.

You want to budget between $50 and $75 per employee. This should cover basic bar-b-que, food, prizes for various games and, if you are on the high side of the budget, a t-shirt for each person there—yes, for the whole family. Invite single folks to bring a date.

The next step is to create a committee to run the event. This should be no more than five people. If you are large enough to have a human resources person, she or he should be the chair of the committee. If not, select the chair and let them pick the committee members. One committee member is in charge of advertising and promoting the event in the company, another is in charge of food and still another in charge of sports and games. One person should be in charge of set-up, getting to the event early with a subcommittee of people to help, and one in charge of clean up, leaving the place you were at cleaner than you found it.

Your role in this is to give the folks a budget limit to spend and then leave. Let the committee run the day, telling you where to be at what time. Your agenda includes no speeches, no politicking within the company and no company gossip. You can be the target of the balloon toss, or the one wrapped up in toilet paper.

You need to book now to get a place for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the summer. Some cities will let you have park space for free, others charge fees. This cost is over and above the per person number. If the park allows cooking but doesn’t have bar-b-que pits, than bring enough portable grills for the event. This is a one-time cost as you can use them for years to come.

If your budget is low, you should provide the basics and ask each person to bring a side dish. You can provide the sodas, juice or water. If people want to drink, they should bring their own refreshments. Appoint someone to be a

‘drunk monitor,’ who has the physical and authoritative presence to stop someone from drinking too much.

You won’t be able to set the date that fits everybody. Don’t try. If you set the date now, most people will be able to make it for July or August. Make sure no employee is getting married that weekend! You’ll need a rain date with the park. If you have a lot of shopping to do for food stuffs, separate the perishables from the basics. The basics you can buy prior to the event, but the perishables can only be bought the morning of, unless you have an indoor venue. Have a telephone chain established with either a direct phone call or email if there is to be a cancellation. Make the decision by 10 a.m. so your committee knows what to do.

The whole idea is to have fun with your team, let them have time together and let them see you with your hair down. This will build team morale, which will build your company. I guarantee it. Enjoy.