Planning regular company outings can produce a multitude of benefits, like helping to boost company morale and remind employees that they are appreciated. Unfortunately, outings can become pricey when you factor in food, drinks and transportation – among other expenses that come along with the outing. However, you don’t have to break the bank to plan a memorable company get-together. Here’s our top advice on staying in your budget, while still planning an exciting outing that will make your employees feel valued.
Crowdsource Outing Ideas – Or the Outing Itself
Sometimes you don’t need to look much further than your office for inspiration. Elizabeth Jenkins, a Communications Manager for Source Capital Funding, Inc. explains of planning company outings, “A great way to find budget friendly outings for your company is to send out the outing budget via email and ask your employees for ideas. This will not only result in several different outings that fit your budget, but your employees will be involved in the process and feel more excited about the event.”
Another great way to keep costs low is to have everyone contribute something. You can host a bake-off competition, where everyone brings in a baked good and you spend the afternoon enjoying desserts and crowning the winner. You can also have an employee heritage day, where everyone brings in a dish from their heritage and have a nice picnic in the park. Other crowd-sourced fun can be sports equipment for an “Office Olympics” tournament or DVDs for a monthly movie night.
Find the Free Perks
When hosting a conference or corporate getaway, costs can really start to add up – from transportation to lodging and dining. Amanda Basse, a Marketing Coordinator for staySky Hotels and Resorts, helps host many out-of-town conferences and corporate events. She recommends taking advantage of hotel amenities to keep costs low: “For example, our properties offer complimentary shuttles to local attractions. This is a fun way to plan a corporate trip without having transportation break your budget.” She continues, “Pick a city that has lots to do. Let’s face it, many people can’t wait to be done with work obligations.” By doing this, you’re not only allowing employees the free time they will be grateful for, but you are able to cut the costs you would have otherwise spend entertaining the entire day. Other hotel perks your company can take advantage of include gyms, pools, or complimentary breakfast and coffee.
Look for Group Deals on Coupon and Discount Websites
Local discount websites are great resources for group activities on a budget. Holly, a Communications Associate at TVape in Canada, recommends Groupon. “I got an awesome coupon for bowling (including shoes!) off Groupon and I think it worked out to be around $8/person for two hours of bowling” said Holly. Other websites like LivingSocial and Yipit are great for finding fun local events and activities, including everything from laser tag to paintball and concert tickets.
Negotiate for a Lower Group Fee
Daisy Jing is the founder of beauty product line Banish, which in part has helped her develop an impressive following of over 50M views on YouTube and become a trusted source of information in the realm of skin problems. Staying true to the mission of her company, Daisy takes her employees out for manicure or spa days. While spa treatments tend to be pricey, Daisy is able to negotiate group fees with salon and spa owners. To this end, it’s worthwhile to reach out and request discounts for groups, be it for theatre tickets or a city walking tour.
Bond Over a Good Cause
Owner of Bite Catering Couture Vijay Goel suggests bringing your team together through a charitable activity. “You can create tremendous support and enthusiasm in bringing together all your talented people in service to a good cause…especially one that means something to the people in a community.” Vijay explains. “You can create high quality lower cost events by shifting the focus of the event to helping someone else in need…instead of a fancy open bar people may bond over lunch boxes spending the day building a home, fixing community facility, or spending time with special needs kids.” Your employees will feel good about lending their skills to a charitable cause, and overall it will be a rewarding company outing.
Use the Space You’ve Got
Here’s a great way to inject some excitement into an otherwise quiet corporate work environment: if your office space has a courtyard, rooftop, conference room or auditorium, take advantage of these free “venues” for your next company get-together. James Nuttall, the Head of HR for Roman Blinds Direct, is in the process of planning a family BBQ on work premises. “One cost-effective event we are planning for next year is to have a family fun day in our main car park, which can hold a large capacity of people.” James explained. “We thought it would be a great gesture to open our premises to our staff and their families to enjoy a fun day together, paid for by the company. There would be no need to hire the premises because we own it; it would involve picking up a few BBQ’s, renting a bouncy castle, and simply putting on a huge family BBQ for all members of staff, from our manufacturing departments all the way up to senior management.”
Igor Kholkin, a manager at a digital agency in Los Angeles also takes advantage of their office space when planning corporate activities. For him, it has proven to be a cost effective way to take employees out of work mode and into bonding mode while still on company grounds. “One of the team favorites is an event that costs little to nothing – an after work board game night at the office.” Explains Igor. “Most people bring in their favorite games to play. The result is an amazing evening that allows colleagues to get to know each other better and have fun together.” Want to sweeten the deal? Start the games in the late afternoon, throw in some snacks and drinks, or even purchase prizes for the winners.