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How to Plan the Ultimate Team Building Event

How to Plan the Ultimate Team Building Event

Company events and team-building exercises are essential to healthy workplace culture. The driving force behind the growth and performance of an organization, the achievement of the whole depends on how well they work together.

Team-building events like a summer company barbecue are a great way to promote comradery, if not friendship, among employees. Here's what you need to know to plan the ultimate team-building event.

Choosing The Right Team Building Event For Your Company

Team-building events are a dime a dozen. In fact, any event you host as an employer for your employees is an opportunity to promote teamwork and help them bond.

However, wherever you are in your journey as a company will determine which sort of event will be the most successful for your goal. Following are three of the most common effective team-building events.

1. The Company Picnic

The summer company party, summer company barbecue, or most commonly, the company picnic, is significant event employees look forward to. An opportunity for employers to go all out, the company picnic offers employers the chance to get out of the office, get active together, have fun playing competitive games together, and enjoy the best parts of summer as a team.

2. The Holiday Party

The end of year or holiday party is a corporate event most take for granted. However, exactly because it gathers around the holiday season, there aren’t many opportunities to be unique – and that's okay, too. People love tradition, and the holiday season is conducive to creating a warm atmosphere that reminds them of their individual customs. No matter what their beliefs are, consider getting your employees gifts to show your appreciation for all their hard work and dedication during the year.

3. Team Building Activities

Team-building exercises don't have to be specific to events when the majority of your employees participate, however. Whenever a substantial amount of new employees are onboarded, consider hosting team-bonding exercises to introduce them to the team and ensure they establish effective lines of communication. 

If on the other hand, hosting a multitude of pop-up events presents a challenge to your budget, contemplate hosting building exercises once or twice a year to keep a healthy dynamic in the office.

team picnic

How to Plan The Ultimate Team Building Event

To plan the ultimate team-building event (of any kind), you will want to follow these key steps:

1. Set an Event Spending Budget

Although the event will be paid for with company money, you never want to overspend. Instead, have a set amount you feel comfortable spending and, most importantly, won’t negatively affect your yearly or quarterly budget.

2. Choose the Right Date

The date of your event matters. Select a neutral date most employees would feel comfortable setting aside. That means don’t pick a national holiday to host your event. Some of us look forward to national holidays as an opportunity to travel and that may leave you with a rather unimpressive small crowd to host. Instead, choose a date without other distracting celebrations surrounding it.

Inevitably, other gatherings and celebrations will be happening throughout the season. Nevertheless, the holiday season is reserved for the observance and a fantastic time to nurture strength within your organization.

3. Your Venue Matters

Your venue doesn’t need to be awe-inspiring, but it does need to have the space and the amenities for your event, so plan ahead. If you choose an outdoor venue, for example, be prepared for rain - tents and company umbrellas can get the job done. However, make sure to coordinate with the venue administrative to ensure you don't break any of the rules and regulations. 

picnic venue

4. Pick a Theme

Keep things fun and select a theme for your individual events. In spite of what haters may say, themed parties and events can have your employees looking forward to your quarterly or yearly occasion.

5. Decorate Appropriately

If you have decided on a theme party, commit to it. There’s no fun in choosing a theme if the party or event in question doesn’t look like it. Decorations matter, too!

6. Grilling up or Catering 

Staples like burgers and hotdogs are great in almost any situation but consider branching out. Nothing shows you care the way food does. Sure, traditional summer foods are easy to prepare, not to mention affordable, but a delicious meal from a local catering service will add some points to your advantage.

No matter what you decide, go for delicious food and apply the same to drinks.

7. Send Out Custom Invitations

Consider “Save the Date” magnets in place of traditional paper invitations. They'll double as mementos of your efforts and you're employees will be impressed.

8. Consider Who May Attend

Consider in advance who may attend your team-building event. You can make it a strict employee event, or perhaps you may be open to a family-friendly event. A way to strengthen your team is by providing a space where they can meet those who are important to their mates. Seeing their coworkers as real human beings worth more than whatever their occupations will help them identify with one another and open lines of communication.

9. Choose Appropriate Entertainment

The company picnic isn't a picnic without the proper entertainment. From a professional sound system to a live act, additional entertainment can help break the ice and fill in the pockets of awkward silence. Keep your audience in mind - entertainment for an adult crowd may not be suitable or appropriate for young children.

10. It's All Fun and Games

Prepare a handful of games and activities for your event. This is especially important for summer parties and team-building exercises. You can't have fun without the games - keep scrolling for some fun ideas!

11. Offer Prizes

Have custom prizes at hand personalized with your company logo? They're fun and if designed right, an excellent way to market your company, too!

12. Get Everyone Involved

Try to create an inviting environment so that all employees feel welcome and involved. For example, you can always plan the event and just ask them to show up, but you can also take votes and recommendations on what they'd like to see happen.

In place of just another company meeting they have to attend, this can be an opportunity to let them take the reins for a day. Keep an eye for the true leaders, wink.

team building

Promote Company Culture with Custom Gifts

Custom party favors are a more affordable way to liven up the space of your event. These event favor ideas below will make add fun to your gathering and double as parting mementos your employees can use around the house or the office.

Flying Discs

Flying discs printed with the company logo are great gifts for a beach day or picnic at the park. They'll get the crowds moving during the event and are certain to be reused at home with the kids or pets.

flying discs

Cooler Bags

All picnics require a cooler, but you can get custom cooler bags! Your employees will love these whether it's keeping their food and drinks cold or even using them to bring their lunches to the office. They're a great way to make the event feel exclusive and personalized.

Picnic Blankets

Picnic blankets are great custom items in which to invest. They can be easily stored away, but you'll find many of your employees will keep them around when the weather gets cold, o

Stainless Steel Water Bottles

Skip the single-use plastic water bottles and shop for stainless steel water bottles personalized with your logo. On a hot summer day, these stainless steel water bottles will keep your drinks ice cold to enjoy for the whole party. 

Reusable Plastic Cups

Reusable plastic cups are another option for single-use plastic bottles. These are great for protecting the environment and eliminating waste. Your team can drink in peace knowing they're doing their part. 

Custom T-shirts for Your Team

Custom T-shirts are a fun way to make all employees feel included, even better is holding a contest giving them a chance to design the picnic t-shirts. The winner gets bragging rights and gets to flaunt their custom shirt for the rest of the party!

custom shirts

Hats and Caps in The Park

Custom hats and caps are a favorite, too. Summer days can get extremely hot out there and gearing up your team with proper headgear can be the game-changer at your team building event.

Team Building Exercises

Need team-building activities to broaden your itinerary? The team-building activity ideas below can a great addition to your company picnic.

Life Highlights

Invite employees to tell each other about the absolute best moment in their lives. From personal achievements to family milestones, to trips and more. The best moment in a person’s life will tell a lot about them - a great and fast way for your employees to get to know one another.

Sneak Peak

Create a sculpture out of Lego building blocks, and set it aside in a private room or covered space. Invite teams to select a member who will look at this sculpture for 10 seconds. They will then return to their team of origin - each gets 25 seconds to describe the sculpture and the rest of the team must attempt to recreate it. The first team to successfully recreate the sculpture wins!

Lego team builidng exercise

Coin Logo

Get everyone to empty out their pockets and purses and use the items found to create logos. This can be done in teams - a challenging way to get employees to work together creatively.


The goal of this game is to get people to classify each other without using stereotypes. They will need to ask each other questions, get to know one another, and so on. Later they'll group themselves into subcategories, like “dog-lover” or “baker.”

Offer Prizes to Keep Motivation High

When it comes to corporate team-building activities, one of the best ways to keep your employees motivated (especially the ones who have been to a few of them) is to offer prizes. You can offer some fun, small, customized prizes for runner-ups and a big prize, like a gift card to a local restaurant, for the team that performs the best.

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About the Author Roxana Clares

Roxana Clares is a product specialist and content marketing manager for DiscountMugs. She is passionate about content creation that adds value and creative insight to an online audience, and believes in the importance of data to improve content marketing strategies. Roxana is the author of the DiscountMugs blog series.

Roxana Clares