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Top 10 Company Picnic Ideas for a Memorable Team Outing

By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

Company Picnic Ideas

When the sun is shining and the weather is sweet, it’s time to crack out the wicker hampers and the paper cups for outdoor team bonding. There are loads of unique company picnic ideas you can harness to create a diverting day of laid-back socializing, allowing everyone to get to know their colleagues better while lifting the spirits of the team as a whole.

The picnic activities for adults in this post provide a delicious spread of different ways to get your staff mixing and mingling, whether you go for a wellness-themed get-together or a nature-inspired gathering.

1. Why Is It Important to Organize Company Picnics for Employees?

Why Is It Important to Organize Company Picnics for Employees?

Company picnics bring staff together in a gregarious environment that improves communication between individuals across different departments. This focus on building connections can create fertile ground for sparking creative collaboration. 

Company picnics can also form a pillar of your company’s employee recognition program.  Thank your staff for their contributions to the business by arranging a group activity that prioritizes enjoyment and relaxation.

2. 10 Best Company Picnic Ideas

2.1. Outdoor Movie Night

An outdoor movie night might be just the ticket to inspire a professional, platonic meet-cute, especially if your office is filled with cinema buffs. As well as helping your team to unwind, a movie night can also facilitate conversation. Choose something that will provoke discussions about the nature of teamwork, such as Remember the Titans or The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. You can even pre-prepare a few talking points to get things started.

A movie night is one of the more technically involved company picnic ideas for employees. You’ll need a screen, a projector, a power source, and speakers. If your office doesn’t have the necessary equipment in the supply closet, you can use a search engine to find a local company that hires out their professional apparatus, including tents and electric heaters for chillier nights.

This kind of outdoor affair is generally better suited to evenings when you don’t need to worry about the glare of the sun affecting the screen's visibility.

2.2. BBQ Party in the Park

BBQ Party in the Park

One of the most classic company picnic ideas is to host an afternoon barbeque in a local park or other scenic outdoor venue. BBQs are the quintessential social occasion, eliminating departmental silos and creating a sense of business-wide unity. Staff can intermingle freely as they sip chilled beverages and debate the perfect amount of charring for a beef patty.

Burgers, hot dogs, steaks, and chicken wings are all classic BBQ fare, complemented by a range of salads and slaws. Make sure to check how many vegetarian or vegan employees are attending so you can offer sufficient meat alternatives from the grill.

2.3. Wellness Activities

Take your picnic to a higher plane with a meditation, yoga, or tai chi class. There are lots of instructors available online who work as either self-employed freelancers or as part of a more significant business who will be able to offer their services for your company event. 

Wellness workshops alleviate stress and promote self-care, leading to a happier, healthier workforce. By adding these activities to your company picnic, you can encourage team socializing while highlighting your business’ mindfulness of staff wellbeing.

Beyond the immediate benefits of wellness activities, your staff can also take away what they’ve learned and apply it to future situations when they feel anxious or overwhelmed, leading to long-term improvement in their physical and mental health.

2.4. Charity Programs

A company picnic can address your corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments by introducing a charitable element. For example, you could feature fundraising activities such as a prize raffle, a silent auction, or a trivia quiz as part of the day. Alternatively, you could ask your staff to mark the event by bringing any unwanted clothing, toys, or long-lasting foodstuffs to the picnic to donate to charitable foundations.

Giving back to the community as part of your picnic not only raises staff morale but can also improve the reputation of your company culture, making it a more attractive proposition for potential new hires while simultaneously fostering loyalty among your existing employees.

2.5. Themed Picnics

Themed Picnics

Who says picnics have to be all sandwiches and salads? Throw out the traditional recipe book for something a little more exotic. Remember that the more memorable your event is, the more it will buck up team spirits and build staff loyalty. Here are just a few themes to get you started:

  • Take inspiration from Hawaii and host a luau with leis, tropical drinks, and traditional dishes like poke bowls and kalua pork accompanied by sweet bread rolls.
  • Create a carnival atmosphere with colorful fairy lights, snacks like cotton candy and corn dogs, and stalls where your staff can play games like balloon darts, ring toss, and duck ponds. You can even hire carnival rides, such as carousels and bumper cars, if you have the space and the budget.
  • Pick a decade and theme your picnic around that era, with matching costumes and music. For the ‘80s, that means big hair and neon set to the rad tunes of “A-ha” and “Cyndi Lauper,” while for the ‘60s, bell-bottomed jeans and lots of tie-dyes are the order of the day, while the groovy sound of the Mamas & the Papas plays in the background.

2.6. Beach Party

Beach Party

There are few things better for cultivating goodwill and a positive mood in your team than a relaxing day at the beach. Amidst the sand, sea, and sun, your colleagues will have ample opportunity to decouple from their office anxieties, exchanging stress for social diversions.

If you want to boost the team-building aspect of your beach picnic, there are several activities you can play as part of the event. For instance, you can organize a game of ultimate frisbee, beach volleyball, or bocce. Alternatively, take advantage of the natural setting and hold a sand sculpture contest. 

2.7. Hiking or Nature Walks

If you’re searching for company picnic ideas that elevate team spirit while raising awareness about the importance of physical activity, arrange a hike with your picnic. Nature walks can benefit physical and mental health, and have been linked to improved cognitive function and decreased absenteeism in the workplace. 

Several apps, including AllTrails and Komoot, provide suggested hiking routes in locations worldwide for free. You can also usually find inspiration on the national parks’ websites for your country.

If you and your team don’t mind carrying the supplies and seating with you on your hike, you can enjoy your picnic halfway through your expedition. A less strenuous option, however, would be to have the picnic either before the hike as an energy booster or at the end of the hike as a gustatory reward.

2.8. Team Sports Tournament

Another way to add a mood-boosting physical aspect to your team bonding event is to set up company picnic games outdoors. Team sports enhance communication and collaboration skills and build a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose within your business.

Amp up the fun by creating your office tournament. Divide participants into teams and have them compete against one another for points. The team with the most points wins a prize, anything from a trophy to a gift voucher.

You can play numerous activities as part of the tournament, including childhood-inspired favorites like the sack race, the three-legged race, and tug of war, as well as football matches and baseball games. 

2.9. Gardening Corner

For more sedate picnic activities for adults, consider hosting a gardening corner where staff can enjoy therapeutic lessons on potting plants, making hanging baskets, and flower arranging. You could plan for your team to visit a local garden center or other nature facility to learn how to care for their home gardens or create vegetable patches.

Aside from the enjoyment of engaging in these activities with their colleagues, staff can take the tips they’ve learned as a way to improve their overall well-being. Gardening has been shown to improve mental health and decrease stress, and encourage people to stay active outdoors.

2.10. Astronomy Night

Astronomy Night

Inspire your team to reach for the stars with a picnic combining essential astronomic exploration. The key to this activity is finding a location with minimal light pollution so your team can see the night sky clearly.

If you have an observatory or a company that organizes stargazing tours nearby, so much the better. Even if you don't, it’s possible to pick up a few astronomy basics using online sources. Plus, there are some very impressive apps that can help your team identify constellations themselves.

Astronomy nights often work best as small company picnic ideas since it can be quite costly to rent or buy multiple telescopes. 

3. FAQs

3.1. What should be included in a company picnic?

There are three essential constituents of a company picnic: refreshments, recyclable dining ware (cups, cutlery, and plates), and some form of seating, which can range from portable benches and tables to thick blankets laid on the ground. 

3.2. What food to bring to company picnic?

Traditional picnic food includes finger sandwiches, potato salad, and cold cuts, but you can also be much more creative with your cuisine. For example, you could arrange a potluck where everyone brings their signature dish or assemble an international smorgasbord of delicacies from around the world. 

3.3. How do you plan a team picnic?

First, decide upon an appropriate venue for your picnic. Second, settle on a date that most of the team can attend. Third, plan the food and drink, whether you opt for external caterers or a more DIY approach. Fourth, prepare a couple of activities to keep attendees engaged and entertained. Finally, send out email invites so your staff can save the date to their calendars.

3.4. How do you make a picnic interesting?

There are lots of company picnic ideas you can employ to spice up the occasion. For instance, consider hosting an office sports day with a picnic or choose an exotic theme that encourages playful dress-up. Our top tip is to conduct a simple survey of staff to find out what they would prefer to do at the picnic so that they feel invested right from the get-go.


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