Oh, the company outing. The idea is for everyone to have fun while building camaraderie and boosting morale. But, of course, there’s the pink elephant in the room: this is mandatory fun, and it must be kept at a “the boss is watching” level.
Plus, there’s the issue of finding something to do that everyone will enjoy… or not hate, at least. Since identifying one activity that appeals to every employee’s interest is a fool’s errand, you may be better off picking an activity that matches your office’s current energy level.
If the ideas of stand-up meetings and lunchtime trail running groups are normal in your workplace, it’s safe to say your office is high-energy. If most days are pretty quiet and employees interact in a fairly calm and reserved manner, the energy level of your office probably feels pretty laid back or low.
One energy level isn’t “better” than the other (though your work style may be better suited to one). But, your company outing should jive with the overall vibe of your workplace and its inhabitants. Otherwise, you could find yourself with a very awkward afternoon on your hands.
Consider one of these company outing ideas based on your office’s current energy level.
High Energy: Battle of the Bands
If you’ve got a bunch of rowdy rock stars with energy to burn, consider entering your office in a “Battle of the Bands” competition designed specifically for corporate groups. A few companies, including Song Division, offer this experience as a corporate team building activity. Here’s how it works:
Register your team for the “Song Slam” and you’ll be matched up with a professional musician and back-up band. Teams are given a topic and some time to write and rehearse a brand new song of their own creation before performing it for a panel of judges. The best part? Song Division promises that you don’t need any musical experience or talent to participate and have a great time.
Mixed Energy Levels: Scavenger Hunt
While your office probably has an overall vibe, you may find yourself with camps of folks that are on very different wavelengths. A group scavenger hunt, which allows teams to assign specific duties to individuals, can be a solid option for both low and high-energy folks. For example, a more laid-back employee can manage the check list or be the navigator while the extroverts of the group can take overall charge of the team or dart off to complete tasks.
While companies like CLASH and The Go Game can plan and execute a customized scavenger hunt for you and your colleagues, you can also take a DIY approach and create a list of items or landmarks that are specific to your city. Include items like “Find the best cupcake in town” and “Take a photo of your entire team on the swing set at the park.”
Low Energy: Booze Cruise or Ball Game
When you’re working with a low energy group, it’s best to pick a destination and camp there for the day. A day cruise (a.k.a. “booze cruise”) gets everyone out of the office and socializing, but doesn’t demand too much of the participants. Circle Line in New York City offers a number of daytime sightseeing cruises that are both informational and relaxing.
If you’re landlocked or suffer from motion sickness, consider a local baseball game. Everyone can sun themselves, eat Cracker Jacks and root for the home team. If you’re not located near a Major League ball field, Minor League and farm team games can be just as fun (and more affordable).
Remember that, despite your best efforts, you probably won’t please everyone. There may be some complaints and eye-rolling (what’s corporate team building without a little eye-rolling?). Try your best to have a good time and, if necessary, remind the eye-rollers that their “mandatory fun” comes with a paycheck. That should help put things in perspective.
What’s your idea of the perfect company outing?