Treat your staff to a fun filled social event they’ll remember
Points to consider when planning an outdoor summer function for your staff. From what to say on the invitations to planning for bad weather and using event planners.
It’s common to arrange some type of staff get together at Christmas, but how about during the summer? The (hopefully) warmer weather and longer days offer an opportunity to hold an event outdoors, and if your staff have something in the summer to look forward to along with perhaps the traditional festive gathering, it’s a great way of enhancing staff morale.
Planning a suitable event
Whether it’s a simple gathering such as a barbecue at the MD’s house for a small workforce, to a larger event being thrown by a company employing scores of people, proper planning is key to ensure the event goes smoothly and nothing is forgotten.
Here are some points to cover:
Where is a suitable venue? Number of people is obviously a key consideration – you wouldn’t want to, say, hire the hospitality area of a local castle or stately home if it’s just a handful of guests.
On the other hand, for a larger gathering those types of venue could be ideal – especially if they’re used to hosting entertainment events. They could help in organising it and will have the know-how to ensure you get the best out of their venue.
If it’s a lesser used venue, for example, a farmer’s field for a general outdoor day with entertainments or an old outbuilding or barn to hold a barn dance, then you’d have to also think of access and perhaps providing services such as power.
Send them out in good time and ask for a response so you know the numbers attending. Final numbers may vary of course, but if planning catering, organising car parking or providing transport to and from the venue you’ll need some idea.
Also, tell people what to expect along with mentioning key times. For example, inform people if food is being served within certain time frames and what type it’ll be. If you’re planning to feed everyone fully as opposed to providing light snacks, then say so or you may find your guests have already eaten a large meal before arriving and thus have no appetite for your lavish spread.
Alternatively, if you’re providing a modest finger buffet or a handful of canapés with a welcome glass of fizz, mention it or your guests may all be hungry having starved themselves all day anticipating being fully fed.
Any other relevant information should be included such as whether there’s a dress code, a theme and what type of gathering it’ll be; for example “outdoor fun and entertainment” or “the [your company] summer barn dance with barbecue” and so on.
This will of course depend on what you’re planning. If a barn dance, then clearly you require a suitably experienced céilidh band complete with a ‘caller’. Maybe you’d like to organise a variety floor show with various entertainers such as perhaps a magician, acting troupe, singer, comedian or more. If so, an events organiser could help you here in hiring suitable people or organising a ‘package’ of live entertainment.
Perhaps you’re planning a relaxed outdoor day with various entertainments and activities such as a big barbecue or food stalls?
If your event is for staff and their children, then keeping the youngsters amused is important so you might consider what would appeal; bouncy castles are always very popular. There are many options available including activity types such as bowling alleys and football, themed varieties including sea creatures and pirates, and many are suitable for adults along with children – try a company offering bouncy castle hire to see what’s available.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, an events company – especially those specialising in corporate and work-related functions – can offer various ‘packaged’ options.
Food and drink
One way or another your staff will require feeding and watering, so whether it’s a small event requiring enough beer, wine and barbecue food or something larger scale needing outside caterers and maybe a hired bar, then plan ahead.
Talk to outside caterers and explain your needs if your event is large enough to warrant their services, and hiring a bar – possibly with bar staff included – is definitely worth considering at a larger event. You don’t want to worry about the beer running out, being unable to chill the white wine, or running out of glasses.
Depending on location, you might be considering offering your staff transport to and from the venue so they can have a few drinks without worrying about who will be driving. If car parking is awkward this may be a consideration, too.
Maybe you’ll consider providing a full or subsidised taxi option? In which case, a reputable local firm should be able to organise some type of ‘tab’ or account for the day (or maybe you already have an account with a local company).
Another idea is to bus everyone there. A local bus or coach hire company could perhaps help here; if it’s a venue some way away from where your staff live and your company is located, you may choose to have everyone collected from, say, your business premises and take them to the venue and back.
If your event is outdoor, it’s important to plan for the weather. As a general principle, provide enough space for everyone to be able to come inside. For example, a large enough tent or two to accommodate everyone should be provided (you may well have a tent lined up anyway; just make sure it’s large enough).
By the same token, ensure there’s plenty of shaded areas for hot days. People can soon run into problems if exposed to hot sun for a prolonged period.
Consider getting help?
If organising a larger event seems daunting or you simply can’t factor in the time, then using an events specialist may be worth considering. They’re used to organising events and can tailor something to suit your numbers, the type of people you employ, and organise everything from booking the venue to the hire of the last wineglass.