Plan the perfect company picnic

Written by Allan Britnell

Summer is finally here and it’s time to reward your employees and their families with a relaxed company picnic. But a wicker basket full of sandwiches and potato salad served on a checkered tablecloth just won’t cut it. Pam McCarthy, president of Calgary-based Five Star Events, offers her 5 top tips for planning the perfect picnic.

  1. Check your calendar. If employees’ families will be invited, the event will have to be held on the weekend. Make sure the date you pick isn’t a religious holiday. And unless you want to encourage a mutiny, don’t plan to hold the picnic on a long-weekend or when half your staff is away on vacation.
  2. Plan ahead. Most public parks require permits, which start at about $20. The permit will ensure the spot you have in mind is reserved for you, along with picnic tables, fire pits, and the like. “You also need to have a back-up plan for lousy weather,” says McCarthy. “If employees have cancelled the kids’ piano lessons or a trip out of town and then the event is cancelled an hour or two before, that’s not good for morale,” she explains. If there’s no shelter on site, consider renting a tent.
  3. Think safety. Stock up on sunscreen, insect repellant and citronella candles, and have a first-aid kit on hand.
  4. Kiss the cook. “Definitely have the event catered,” advises McCarthy. “Let your employees relax and enjoy the day. Don’t put them to work.” Make sure the caterer provides a varied menu that will accommodate staffers who are vegetarian, diabetic or have food allergies. Coming from cattle country, McCarthy is quick to point out that, “A vegetarian meal is not just salad.”
  5. Team players. Plan some fun activities to entertain the crowd. “Something that doesn’t include sharp objects — no lawn darts,” says McCarthy. It can be as simple as asking people to bring gloves for a pick-up softball game or bringing a bunch of old ties for three-legged races.

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© 2003 Allan Britnell

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com