Virtual game nights or get-togethers can be fun, your workforce might miss the experience of meeting up in person. Is it time to think about throwing a summer event for your company?
Here's what you need to know about how to throw summer events for your company in a post-pandemic climate:
- When planning workplace events, finding a happy medium between staying safe and having fun is possible.
- In-person social events give employees a chance to network, foster community, and sustain engagement with their work and your company.
- Event vendors are in high demand; if you're planning to hold an indoor or outdoor gathering this summer, ensure you have your plans in place well in advance.
Hosting events in a post-pandemic climate isn’t always easy. Unlike the years before COVID-19, in-person events still have pandemic-related safety requirements you’ll need to keep in mind.
While in-person events may require extra caution, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t gather!
- Large gatherings are returning
- Outdoor events are becoming more popular than ever
- 40 percent of people plan to travel (at least domestically) this summer
When planning workplace events, finding a happy medium between staying safe and having fun is possible. Summer is a great excuse for you and your employees to take a breather from your desks.
Whether your employees work in the office, from home, or in a hybrid model, your people are probably hungry to gather and socialize in real life.
If you’re thinking of throwing a summer event for your company, here are five tips to keep in mind:
1) Follow the law
Throwing in-person work events means you’ll need to follow your state’s legal requirements for keeping safe regarding COVID regulations. Although most states have wholly or almost entirely removed restrictions on public gatherings, your company should still do its part to help stop the spread.
Large gatherings always have a higher risk, even if they’re held outdoors. It’s a good idea to consider what safety precautions you can take to protect your employees.
The United States Department of Labor has a set of guidelines on keeping employees safe.
Vaccine requirements, physical distancing, or face coverings may be required in certain situations to keep your workplace safe.
To keep people safe, we recommend that you:
- Stay on top of the news
- Remain well informed about any guidance from your state’s health authority
There’s also the potential that these laws will change in emergency situations, such as a COVID variant or a sudden surge in cases.
2) Adhere to corporate policy
Even if you’re not legally required to follow any COVID rules this summer, your organization’s head office may have a set of regulations to follow when it comes to COVID-related safety.
Examples might include:
- Requiring attending employees to be vaccinated
- Providing rapid tests at the entrance of the event and requiring all employees to test negative
As an organization, you are responsible for holding a safe and responsible event.
Corporate COVID restrictions are a lingering effect of the pandemic. The Center for Disease Control has resources for workplaces looking to stop the spread, including guidance on disinfecting, ventilation systems, and sharing vehicles at work.
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3) Be mindful of the location
If you have a hybrid or fully remote workplace, your employees might not live in the same city. This can present some challenges when trying to plan an event. While virtual game nights or get-togethers can be fun, your workforce might miss the experience of meeting up in person.
What can you do when your team is geographically dispersed?
Consider flying people in
With hybrid and remote work here to stay, there’s a good chance that your employees won’t be located in the same city where your office gatherings are being held. If you have the budget, consider flying employees in for the evening and allowing them to engage with their colleagues in real life.
This will show them that you care about their employee experience and are invested in creating a robust remote culture. You can give them a per-diem to spend on travel and allow them to expense a hotel that’s within your company budget.
Create alternative options for remote employees
If flying people in is not an option for your budget, consider how you will engage your remote employees who cannot attend. Examples of things you can do include:
- Allow them to expense an expensive meal while the event is going on
- If the employee can join in virtually, make sure all the technology is set up and tested ahead of time for them to join
- If other employees live in the same city as them, facilitate a local gathering
- Create virtual engagement opportunities as a regular part of your culture. There are plenty of alternative ways to keep remote employees virtually involved with the team.
Try hosting the event in a central location for most of your employees. Be sensitive to the fact that some employees may feel excluded if they cannot join in person. Go above and beyond to show them you care and do what you can to help them feel included.
If you have a large employee presence in one location, schedule some summer fun! In-person social events give employees a chance to network, foster community, and sustain engagement with their work and your company.
4) Plan for the weather
Summer events mean summer temperatures, and if you’re planning an event post-pandemic, there’s a good chance it will be outdoors. Although no one can predict the weather, outdoor events come with slightly more unpredictability.
If you’re planning a barbecue, golf day, or beach trip, make sure you have a backup plan in case of rain or wind.
If your backup plan involves bringing the party indoors, consider any extra health and safety measures you may need to follow.
Informing employees about indoor plans (in advance) can help them decide whether or not to attend and keep everyone safe.
5) Start planning early
Event vendors are in high demand, with a post-pandemic surge in event attendance and a backlog of weddings, parties, and other celebrations. If you’re planning to hold an indoor or outdoor gathering this summer, ensure you have your plans in place well in advance and keep an eye on your budget.
Soaring interest in getting together has made venues harder to book and sometimes more costly. Hotels, conference centers, and even restaurants could be harder to reserve right now, so make sure you book well in advance if you’re planning a summer event for your employees.
If you start planning early, you’ll also give your employees plenty of time to start mentally preparing. Remember, many people have become accustomed to minimized socializing. They may feel overwhelmed by social events. They will likely appreciate the advanced notice to help them start getting into the mindset of meeting in person.
Other ways to help your employees enjoy their summer
Beyond summer events, there are plenty of ways to help your employees (both remote and in-person) enjoy their summer! These include, but are not limited to:
- Sponsor recreational sports teams. If you have enough people in the same city to join a sports league, you can pay their fees and allow them an opportunity to gather in this way. For employees who live in a different city, you can give them a stipend to join a local league.
- Allow for summer hours. Many employees want more time off during the summer
- Conduct meetings outside. Whether in-person or virtual, you can conduct meetings outside and allow everyone to enjoy some fresh air
Whether you’re a fully remote workforce or you see each other in person, summer social events are a great way to:
- Get together
- Blow off steam
- Boost the morale of your group
Socializing in the sun brings plenty of chances for sharing stories, networking, and connecting as a team. As we enter a post-pandemic climate, it’s finally becoming a reality. Have fun!