Things to Consider When Planning the Company’s Summer Picnic

For some companies, the office summer picnic or outing has replaced the office holiday party. However, summer office outings still present similar liability risks for company managers and bosses.
According to Seyfarth Shaw at Work, more than 60 percent of managers have hosted summer office events that later came back to "bite" them. The biggest unexpected hot-weather headaches come from drinking games, risky team-building activities and poorly executed party themes.  Philippe Weiss, Managing Director of Seyfarth Shaw at Work, suggests the following tips for bosses and companies:
  1. Ticket the Tequilas: Provide the event food, but limit the alcohol - such as by using a drink ticket system. (It also may be safest to avoid asking employees to cook any of the dishes to limit food poisoning and other risks.)
  2. Be Open to Employee "Opt Outs": Stress the fact that no one is expected to attend. That's as important as making everyone, at all levels, feel welcome. (Don't forget to include your remote-workers on the invites.)
  3. Pass Up on those Perilous Party Themes: Ask yourself: does my planned event theme in any way encourage people to act, or even dress, irresponsibly? (Weiss has seen such ill-fated themes/traditions as “Toga and Twister” parties and games of “Bobbing for Minibar Bottles" gone awry.)
  4. Don't Get Physical: Games should focus on friendly collaboration - not flagrant physical contact. Weiss recalls a "Mud Wrestle your Meanest Manager" competition that led to an unfortunate spate of post-party complaints. (Assign a trusted internal “game & party planner” to carefully manage the agenda.)
Source:  Wolters Kluwer