Unfortunately, these difficult economic times have caused many companies to discontinue events such as company picnics and off site team building events. This is unfortunate because these events really do serve to build company moral by demonstrating the company’s commitment to and appreciation of their employees. Company outings can encourage employee interaction which can improve team dynamics, reduce stress and actually increase productivity once everyone is back to work.
In today’s stressful economy these social outings are a welcome way for employees to introduce the coworkers that they spend so much time with to their families who are so important to them. It is a time of bonding, relaxation and fun – valuable to everyone in and outside of work. And the great news is that your next employee outing can also be a green activity, providing an opportunity for you to help the environment, encourage responsible eco-friendly actions in your employees and their families, and perhaps even get a bit of good press out of the entire fun event. Following is a list of six tips for how to make your employee outing green:
In this case, we actually mean green – hold your location in a neighborhood park. Choose a location that is central to most employees to cut down on transportation costs. Encourage carpooling with a sign-up sheet for people who live further away to try and share rides, or arrange for a shuttle if you have a lot of people who you know come from a similar distance. Choosing a park can help you keep costs down as park pavilions are often free or quite inexpensive to rent. Choose one with adequate play equipment for the children and you may eliminate the need to rent expensive, energy hogging blow-up toys or other entertainment.
Inform your entire company about the event in a green way – through email. If you fear that not everyone has email, then hang up a limited number of signs in high traffic areas; avoid the environmentally irresponsible method of handing out hundreds of flyers.
3) Decorate in eco-friendly style.
Keep decorating to a minimum and avoid putting anything dated on your decorations, so you can reuse them next year. Stay basic, simply create signs that say, “Welcome”, “Welcome to Company ABC’s Party”, or “Have a great day”. These signs can be stored and reused so that you do not have to waste money or resources on new signs every time you hold an event. For paper products, spend a few dollars extra and go green. Visit GreenIrene, EcoProducts or other websites to find plates, cups, spoons, forks, etc. all made of sustainable, biodegradable materials. For serving platters, use hollowed out watermelons and other similar sustainable containers, or ask for volunteers to lend serving platters and other non-disposable items from home. Renting tents is another way to be eco-friendly.
4) Hand out green party favors.
Every party is more fun if everyone goes home with a free gift. But avoid the easy out of purchasing cheap plastic souvenirs or company hats that will never be worn again. One great giveaway is a reusable, recycled plastic water bottle or stainless steel bottles with your company logo or a simple “go green” logo on it. You can hand these out and use them right at the event – instead of going through a million plastic water bottles, have a couple of 5 gallon water coolers on hand at the event. Everyone can use their new refillable bottle for their drinks.
Once your event is planned to be amazing, put some press on it to let the community know that your company is dedicated to employee satisfaction and also keeping our Earth clean. Simply send out some electronic press releases to various websites, advertise on your green certification organization’s website and put the details on your own website.
6) Leave no trace.
Once your event is over hike out all your trash. After you are gone there should be no clue at the park that your group was ever there; as they say in the park business, “Take only photographs and leave only footprints.” Ensure that every streamer, napkin and cup is accounted for and disposed of properly. If you have used biodegradable table wear, ask for employee volunteers who have home compost bins to take them or find out if your local yard waste facility will accept them.