Running Your Business

5 Summer Office Party Ideas That Are Better Than a Holiday Party


  • Instead of hosting another holiday party, consider treating your employees to a summer outing

  • Throwing your party in the summer means you'll have more options to choose from

  • Some ideas for a summer party include hosting an outdoor sports day or company-wide scavenger hunt

Posted by June 16, 2018

Coming up with new office party ideas can get tiresome. Sometimes it feels like everyone has been to more office holiday parties than they can count. Not to mention, there is often so much going on at year-end, employees may feel dragged down by yet another event they must attend.

So, why not treat your office to a summer outing instead? Not only will you have more venues to choose from, but your team is sure to bond over the new, shared experience.

Office Party Ideas for Summertime

Another benefit of hosting a company-wide function during summer, as opposed to wintertime, is the difference in price. How much does it cost to rent a ballroom at the swanky, local hotel? How much does it cost to reserve a gazebo in the nearby park? Most likely, the totals aren’t even close.

In December, every business in town is likely looking for an indoor venue to throw their holiday party—meaning you have to choose from limited locations, caterers and entertainment options. Throwing your party in the summertime means you can have your pick. Additionally, you won’t be limited to only indoor options (of course, it can’t hurt to have a backup plan if the weather isn’t great).

The best part? Think of all the potential team bonding opportunities! Here are five fun ideas to consider when planning your next company party.

1. Grill Party

Hosting an outdoor party complete with freshly cooked food is a great choice. If you go this route, the senior leadership team should do the cooking. Let them take orders from the rest of the team for a change of pace. (Caterers will provide the food and service, but having the CEO and the CHRO flip burgers can boost morale.)

2. Amusement Park Adventure

Yes, this may sound expensive, but many local parks will give companies a discount. Most deals allow employees to get in free, and if their family members want to tag along, they can buy tickets at a reduced price. Or, if you have a bigger budget, everyone gets in free! To make the occasion even more special, arrange a place for everyone to meet for lunch.

3. Outside Sports Day

Depending on your company size, culture and current employees, this can include anything from a softball tournament (where the winning team gets an extra vacation day), to silly games that involve more laughter than physical prowess.

Events like water balloon tosses, giant Jenga games, potato sack races and bocce ball matches don’t require athleticism to win. Just remember to be conscious of any employees with disabilities who may not fully participate. It’s a good idea to ensure there is something for everyone to do.

4. Scavenger Hunts

This type of activity can range from a traditional “find a burnt-out light bulb” hunt to a fun, photography-based hunt that encourages team members to explore the city (for instance, you can ask them to take a picture at the corner where two streets named after U.S. presidents intersect). With some creativity and elbow grease, you can arrange this yourself—or you could hire a firm that specializes in this type of team building.

5. Service Projects

Looking to do something for the greater good? Clean up a park, volunteer at a Special Olympics event or hold a car wash to raise money for a worthy cause. Not only is this a chance to participate in community service projects as a team, but it can be pretty fun!

Seasonal Considerations to Keep in Mind

While chances are good you’ll enjoy wonderful weather during a summer outing, any outside party needs a “plan B.” This can either be a backup indoor activity or rain date. You can’t trust Mother Nature—but you can plan ahead.

It’s also important to keep safety in mind. If it’s hot outside, you’ll need to provide plenty of water to keep your team hydrated. Make sure you have a first aid kit on-site and follow all local regulations. Keep sunscreen on hand, and if you want a souvenir from the day, a brimmed hat with the company logo could be just the thing.

Remember to never, ever “strongly encourage” someone who doesn’t want to participate. You may not know about a hidden disability, and putting pressure on someone to participate on a hot day could lead to issues.

Summer parties can be something new for your team to look forward to, and these office party ideas should give you a jumpstart.

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