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Summer Party Ideas for Work

A business man holds a drink in a pool

There’s no doubt that, because of the lovely weather, summer, more than any other season, presents you with the most opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, build camaraderie, and bolster morale with your employees. But therein lies the key to narrowing down your summer party ideas. No longer confined to the indoors, you need to base the kind of summer party you have on the reason for the party. Did you meet or exceed your quarterly goals? Do you think your team could benefit from some bonding? Or do you think everyone could use some personal time to unwind?

Summer party ideas to celebrate accomplishments

Hitting a certain milestone or exceeding expectations are both excellent reasons to get your groove on. In fact, not celebrating your team’s achievements can put a serious damper on retention and future performance. Since the focus of your summer party is – and should be – the self-indulgent pleasure of patting yourselves on the back for a job well done, consider the following venues:

  • Park picnic – If you need to reserve a large space, or are concerned that the park you want to go to will be crowded tCoworkers enjoy a picniche day of your summer party, contact your local parks and rec department to make the appropriate arrangements. Then bring lots of snacks, soft drinks (emphasis on the “soft” as open alcoholic beverages in public spaces are illegal in Canada except on campsites in some provinces), and equipment to play outdoor games, including tennis balls, whiffle bats, footballs, and soccer balls.
  • Bar none – If the PG rating of a picnic isn’t your style, hit up a patio at a local bar or restaurant. Although it might limit game time to billiards and darts indoors, the sunshine and cocktails are perfect for schmoozing – so long as the organization foots the bill and everyone drinks responsibly.
  • House party – As the boss, you may want to host the summer party at your own home, assuming you have enough space and a passion for barbequing. Food and drinks would cost far less than they do at a bar or a restaurant. It can even be easier to keep track of people’s drinking and ensuring that those who need taxis get them.

Remember to clear what you want to do with your HR department and to involve your social committee (if you have one) to help with organization and communications.

Summer party ideas for team building

Coworkers struggle in a whitewater raftThere are many camps, retreats, and resorts offering summer team building packages that including everything from treetop trekking to whitewater rafting to paintball battling. What about these activities makes for a summer party? For one, they’re meant to be fun. If your employees don’t enjoy themselves, they’ll become detached from the experience, go through the motions, daydream instead of bond, and the entire event will have failed in its goal. Some of your employees may not enjoy the physical strenuousness or perceived health risks associated with more “extreme” activities, so gauge whether you have a sporty workforce, or better yet, ask their opinion before you splurge on Sergeant Slaughter’s Boot Camp for the Berserk when maybe Gary Loungeman’s Golf-tastic Getaway is more their speed.

Summer “party” ideas for relaxation

Ironically, sometimes the best summer party you can throw for your employees isn’t a party at all – at least not at work. Summer hours are a popular way to reward accomplishments and nurture loyalty. After all, the better your work-life balance policies, the more employees will appreciate you and the more likely they will want to continue working for you. In fact, a 2012 survey commissioned by Ultimat Vodka (no less) reinforced how much summer Friday afternoons off can contribute to employees’ sense of work-life balance and how that perk would contribute to higher productivity during the summer – a time of the year that New York ad agencies in the 1960s discovered drained people of productivity. Of course, the Ultimat Vodka survey is of employees, the vast majority of which did not have summer Fridays off, so take from its conclusions what you will. Still, the importance of work-life balance as it pertains to employee retention, morale, and a better bottom line is all but etched in stone.Coworkers enjoy a summer poolside networking event

Doubling back to party time, employees with summer Friday afternoons off constitute a new market for bars, clubs, and lounges to cash in on with sunny networking events, young professionals’ shindigs, and poolside schmoozing parties, especially in large cities. This trend means some of your employees may use their summer Friday afternoons to expand their professional networks rather than simply sun tan, enjoy a lazy lunch, or catch up on chores. Would this lead to attrition? Or could it mean more prospective clients for your business? Whatever the case, to ensure summer hours aren’t abused by anyone, there should be checks and balances in place. Perhaps everyone works a little extra during the week to earn a Friday off, or perhaps Fridays off are only earned if certain goals are met. First and foremost, however, you have to decide if summer hours – or flextime of any kind – are right for your organization.

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