There are a lot of great things that can be done to help build relationships with your employees. While many events can take place at work, some of the best take place outside of the office.

Between the gray cubicles and typical meeting locations in your workplace, you can only get to know each other so much. Arranging social events outside of work hours doesn't only promote friendships, but it can help maintain or raise morale.

It's important, however, that you realize what kinds of social events will be well received by your employees, along with ideal locations and activities.

Why it's good to get out of the office

Meetings over coffee, team building activities and other in-office events are great ways to build positive professional attitudes, and it's always nice to get up and away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But make sure you also extend outside office events as another way to reach out to your employees-and to provide a venue for them to reach out to each other.

Getting out of the office is an excellent way to take a deep breath and cut loose from the strict workplace setting. It also comes with remarkable benefits, such as:

  • Reducing workplace stress
  • Improving morale
  • Providing networking opportunities among staff members
  • Getting to know each other on a more personal level
  • Improving employee communication
  • Encouraging personal, one-on-one interaction

Employees can easily feel isolated in office settings, too, restricting them from getting to know their colleagues or superiors.

According to HR World, getting your employees involved in organizing events is another innovative way to explore ideas and build relationships in the office. Pulling together activity committees or organization groups is a great way to start.

Whenever an off-property work-related social event is in the works, make sure that your employees know that workplace policies still apply. Structuring a sound and clear employee handbook is a great way to convey this message.

Creating fun socials for your employees

With various venues and options in your area, it's important to look at the best matches for your company and employees.

Answer the following questions before you start planning, so you can narrow down your search results:

  • Will alcohol consumption be allowed?
  • Is commuting a problem for any employees? Having an event in the city where most of your employees live is ideal.
  • What kind of food do you want to serve?
  • Is the event for socializing, or for presentations or group meetings?
  • What kind of budget are you working with?

Depending on what kind of event you want to plan, choose from a variety of venue options:

  • Local bars or taverns
  • Sporting events
  • Area wineries or venue rentals
  • Large facilities (ballrooms, conference centers, etc.)

Don't hesitate to utilize surveys, too, to get employees involved in the planning process. Opening events to spouses or families will promote morale and show your employees that you care about their life outside of work.

Be prepared by planning ahead

As with most social events, choosing the right food makes everyone (and their bellies) happy. You also want to make sure that your gathering is fun for everyone, including employees and their families, if they're invited.

From finding a caterer to hiring a DJ or entertainment, make sure you have contracts ready so all the expectations are clear and concise.

  • Have a facility rental agreement in place, designating the length of the event, expectations of the facility or your company, and other loose ends.
  • Develop a simple catering contract, which will highlight the rates and expectations of the company.
  • If alcohol will be allowed, make sure you have a bartending contract laid out for specific regulations.
  • Compile a DJ or entertainment contract, also for rates, expectations, time and material that is approved for use.
  • Make sure you have a headcount from your employees (and their spouses or families, if allowed) so you can plan accordingly.
  • Reiterate the importance of company policies and the employee handbook.

If you have any other specific services you plan on incorporating into your event, make sure you have a general services contract ready for all parties to review.

Preventing problems at your social event

Even with on-site events, you can never completely predict what might go wrong. With alcohol involved, the possibility of small children, being off-premises and other options might be the cause of some not-so-welcome effects later.

Make sure your employees know some basic guidelines, which might include:

  • A dress code-Encouraging your employees to dress appropriate is important. If the event is a picnic or outdoors, make sure they dress for the weather. If the event is geared as a meeting or presentation setting, make sure they understand the company policy and dress code.
  • Appropriate behavior-This is especially important if alcohol is present. Make sure your employees know that businesslike conduct is required throughout the event, and even if the gathering is off-site, company policies still exist.

It's a good idea to redistribute your employee handbook to make sure everyone knows what behavior is expected, even off-site.

With the right planning in mind and the appropriate contracts signed and understood, your company social event can go off without a hitch. Use various tools and resources from our business legal forms guide to help you get started.