Now that summer is well underway and the return to office is happening for many companies, it brings new challenges to planning successful events for the entire team. Everyone is at a different stage in the return to work journey.
Planning events for in-person, hybrid, virtual or a combination of all 3, the goal remains the same–to build culture (through events) by helping employees feel connected to their peers no matter their location.
TLDR: With many companies returning to office, it’s important to include the entire team when planning internal events this summer. We have put together a list of best practices and summer event ideas for running and planning in-person, hybrid and virtual events.
In-Person Summer Events ⛱
Best Practices 🌟
- Monitor COVID guidelines and protocols for the location leading up to the event, and remind employees to follow them at the time of the event.
- Create a list of rules and guidelines for those who are coming to the event, such as mask guidelines, safety measures, parking instructions, etc. Send them to employees before the event and post them in the event location.
- Plan events outdoors whenever applicable to allow employees to be more spread out. Make sure to also have a backup plan/location if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
- If your in-person event is outdoors, make sure to provide items that would normally be at indoor locations like hand sanitizer stations and masks.
- If your in-person event is indoors, make sure to follow the maximum capacity guidelines and try to have open airflow.
- Break your team into smaller groups or create time blocks throughout the day to give employees the option to socialize in a smaller setting.
Event Ideas 📝
- Beach Day - Organize an in-person beach day for your team where everyone can come together and have some fun in the sun. Since this event is outside this gives the ability for everyone to attend at a safe distance apart. Organize additional water activities such as surfing or kayaking.
- Office Tour - With the return to office beginning, some have never been to their company’s office before or their company opened a new office. What better way to celebrate by offering a tour of the office for all employees and their families.
- Dog Park Day - Gather all of the dog owners on your team and plan a meetup at a local dog park where everyone can bring their furry friends. Even if employees don’t have a pet of their own, encourage them to tag along and socialize with employees and their pets.
Hybrid Summer Events 🌊
Best Practices 🌟
- Ensure all employees have access to the physical location address and the virtual link so they can decide how they wish to attend the event.
- Make sure to follow the local COVID guidelines and protocols for the in-person aspect of the event. Provide items for employees like hand sanitizer and masks.
- For the in-person aspect of the event, if it is outdoors make sure to have a backup plan and location if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
- Be prepared for all aspects of the hybrid event and ensure there is an event facilitator for the in-person experience and an event facilitator for the virtual experience, at the event location to ensure everything runs smoothly. Having a separate event facilitator for the virtual aspect of the event ensures remote attendees can access the event, see what is happening and monitor the virtual event discussion.
- If you are streaming the event make sure the cameras are set up and tested before the event starts.
- Make a point of ensuring the virtual audience feels included and is acknowledged throughout the entire event.
- If you are recording the event to share with remote employees afterward, ensure they know where and when they can find the event recording link. To make the virtual attendees feel more engaged and included, host a showing where everyone can watch the event recording together and have a discussion.
Event Ideas 📝
- Family Beach Day - Encourage your team members and their families to enjoy a day at a beach in their city. Employees can snap and share some of their photos from their beach day on Slack with everyone. If you are a global team, everyone will get to see beaches from all over the world.
- Hybrid Office Tour - As mentioned before, some teams are returning back to the office and many changes have been made to their spaces. Showcase the new office changes and celebrate the return to work by hosting a hybrid office tour. Those who feel comfortable can attend in-person and those who would like to watch from home can join the virtual tour.
- Outdoor Hike - To enjoy the summer weather, spend as much of your time as possible outdoors (but don’t forget sunscreen!). Host a hybrid outdoor hike day where the employees close to the office can meet and hike together, and remote employees can go on a hike near them. To make everyone feel connected and like they are all doing one hike together, share some pics in Slack or get your team on the Strava app to share their hiking routes.
Virtual Summer Events 🍉
Best Practices 🌟
- Send a calendar invite out to all employees and include relevant information such as the video platform link, event description, agenda, and/or virtual event etiquette.
- Test out the event link prior to the event to make sure it works.
- During the virtual event, remind attendees to stay muted unless they are speaking.
- Create a place where attendees can have a discussion and ask questions before the event. Usually, a designated Slack channel for the event works well as event information can also be posted there for all attendees to see.
- Promote a discussion during the event either on Slack or in the video platform chat.
- Share the event recording afterward so those in other time zones who couldn’t attend can watch the event.
- Be mindful of Zoom fatigue and think of other ways to engage employees virtually off-screen.
Event Ideas 📝
- Virtual Beach Day - Bring the beach to your home office with festive Hawaiian shirts and sun hats. Employees can get creative by using a beach Zoom background, making beach-inspired snacks, and hosting beach-themed games throughout the day. Don’t forget to share a beach-inspired playlist for employees to listen to during their workday.
- Work-Life Balance Panel for Parents - During the summer months when kids are off school, it can be challenging for parents to balance working from home and having their kids home. Host a panel that discusses work-life balance for parents and tips to support each other. Foster a community in Slack where parents can receive support from other parents and share experiences.
- Virtual Visit to Sweet Farms - When you can’t go visit the farm, bring the farm to you! Take your team on a virtual tour of Sweet Farms this summer! They offer virtual farm tours for the whole family, educational events, and happy hours!