5 ideas for summer socials

Too often, work can become all too encompassing – especially when things get busy and there’s loads to do. Working long hours and taking less breaks may feel like the answer to maximise productivity, but research over the past two decades has actually suggested the opposite.

Prioritising fun at work, when appropriate, can benefit your business as much as your employees. Improving teamwork, building trusting relationships, reducing employee stress, increasing motivation and loyalty are just some of the positive impacts. Plus, it can make your workforce more productive. Organising social events with your work team can be a great way to show your employees that you truly care, and create the kind of workplace culture they enjoy being a part of. So, with summer just around the corner, we’ve come up with five ideas that can help you make the most of the good weather, and have some fun with your peers:

1. Do something for the community

Getting out the office and doing something to help your local community can be a refreshing and fulfilling way to socialise with your team, meet new people and explore the area. You could ask your local volunteer service about any groups or areas that need support. In the summer, consider things like developing allotments, litter picking walks, or helping spruce up a tired playground. Being physical and spending time outside is hugely beneficial to your employees, particularly those who spend most of their time tied to their desk, looking at screens. Volunteering to help the community can also be an effective way to get a fresh perspective when work becomes demanding – it can help employees reduce stress, combat depression and provide a further sense of purpose outside of their daily work lives.

2. A classic sports day

Organising a team games day outside in your local park or green can be a fun and healthy way for your employees to get fresh air, relieve any stress, and have a laugh with each other. And it doesn’t require much budget either! Ask employees to put their name down for activities like the good old egg and spoon race, or a team game of rounders. Not everyone will want to take part in certain activities, so including a mix of races, games and group activities is important. If you wanted to get more creative... you could combine it with some non-active competitions, like awards for the best team name or the most creative team t-shirts.

3. Picnic in the park

Head to your local park for a picnic style lunch as a team – everyone can bring something different to contribute to the meal, and your employees can chat, relax and get to know each other better. If you have a diverse, international team... make it more interesting by asking employees to contribute something that originates from their home country. For desserts, why not get creative and suggest a baking competition. Ask for volunteers to take part – give them a budget, a theme or specific guidelines, and award a prize for the most popular creation. Consider providing some heathy dessert options too like fresh fruit salads.

4. Scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt around your local town or city can be a fun and challenging experience, that’ll help your employees work on valuable skills like problem solving, team building, communication and perseverance – as well as just having some fun! Creating the list for the hunt itself is usually the most challenging part, but you could get really creative with personalised clues, and give the hunt a theme that relates somehow to your company and employees. Randomly dividing your employees into teams will encourage them to mix with new people and get out of their comfort zone. Set them a time limit, and clear guidance on how to collect the hidden items or even send photos of what they’re finding via a Whatsapp group. And make sure everyone knows where to meet at the end... like the local pub, where you can have a drink and chat about the experience together.

5. Try out an activity centre

One great way to make the most of the sunshine and help employees practice new skills is to take the team out to an activity centre for the day. Things like Go Ape, outdoor go karting, kayaking or zorbing can all be fun and equally challenging activities that big or small groups of any age can enjoy. Many factors will come into place when considering the best ideas for your company or team - the UK weather being one of the most unpredictable ones! It’s also crucial to consider your workforce demographics, employees’ abilities, dietary preferences and of course your company budget. But most of our suggestions can be adapted to suit your company’s specific needs. It’s just about getting creative and thinking outside the box. Plus, read our blog on alcohol-free socials for some more ideas on what you could do with your team – both indoors and out.

Find out how our business health and wellbeing services could support both your business and employees here.