Fun and Unique Corporate Event Ideas
A fun corporate event can make employees feel valued. It’s important to remind employees that their hard work is appreciated. With thoughtful planning and an open mind, you can plan an event that is enjoyable for everyone.
We are going to explore different event ideas, from hosting a themed party to activities your employees can easily enjoy in the office. It’s worth the time and effort it takes to plan an event because it can make a big impact. The benefits of a corporate event designed for employees include:
- Help build relationships
- Boosts morale
- Strengthens teamwork
- Makes employees feel valued
- Sparks creativity
- Improves employee retention
Most importantly, corporate events can be tons of fun if they are planned well! Get ready to feel inspired and start planning a party your employees will talk about for weeks.
How to Choose a Corporate Event Theme
Planning a corporate event can seem like a daunting task because there are a lot of factors to consider. By organizing your thoughts, though, you will be in greater control of the planning process.
So, where do you begin? First, consider the following points:
- Identify the goal: What’s the overall purpose of the event? Is the event meant to launch a new product or build teamwork skills? Do you wish to reward employees for their accomplishments? Determining the overall objective will help you decide on the details like a theme or activities.
- Consider your audience: Who do you plan to invite? What will your employees enjoy? Are there any activities they’ve enjoyed in the past? Talk with employees and get their opinion.
- Plan a budget: Big events with elaborate themes, food and entertainment can make for a memorable experience, but they can be costly, too. You’ll need to determine your budget, and plan accordingly.
- Consider feasibility: It would be great to have fireworks, lions and hot air balloons all at the same event, but that might make planning a little too difficult. Think about your company’s resources.
- Choose a theme you want to host: Go with a theme that you’re excited about and look forward to planning. This will make the job easier, and you’re likely to plan a better party than if it’s an idea you dread. However, you might not have the final say. If this is the case, find an aspect of the theme you love, and ask for help with other elements of planning.
- Take a poll: Can’t decide which theme you want to go with? Ask employees to vote for their favorite idea.
After you’ve gathered a list of the most important event details, you can start thinking about activities and all the other features that make a party great.
What Are Different Venues for a Corporate Event?
A lot of money goes into event meeting venues each year. There were 252 convention centers in the United States in 2016. The business-to-business events industry gained $23.9 billion worldwide in 2014 and 2015. There is no limit, other than budget, to where you can hold your corporate event. We’ll share common venue ideas and then look at less conventional indoor and outdoor venue possibilities.
1. Common Venues
Many corporate events are held at the following venues:
- Hotel or Lodge: Hotels or lodges are commonly used for seminars or conferences.
- Convention Center: These are often the space for trade shows.
- Banquet Halls: Multi-purpose rooms can be used for a variety of reasons, from weddings to business gatherings.
- Resorts: These are usually reserved for incentive trips or as executive retreats.
- In the Office: Daily and weekly events can be held in the office to boost morale.
- At Home: Smaller events might take place in the host’s home and helps build relationships.
- Community Spaces: Parks, social halls or local business spaces are used for charity and community events.
2. Indoor Venue Ideas
Rainy days, snowy weather or simply not having access to an outdoor venue doesn’t mean a corporate event can’t be full of activity and adventure. Here are some suggestions to get employees out of the office and have fun. Consider how many people you plan to invite to help you determine if a venue can accommodate your group or not:
- Class or workshop: Do several of your employees agree that they would love to join a painting class or learn how to pair wine with cheese? Take employees to a class or workshop where they can create new bonds and get inspired.
- Bowling: Bowling is a fun way to let loose and get chatty. Want to make it even more fun? Have a costume bowling party.
- Arcade: Take employees out for an afternoon at an arcade to let them play like kids again. If that’s not possible, consider adding an arcade game to a space in the office.
- Pool hall: Rent a pool hall for your event or rent a pool table for the office.
- Indoor mini golf: Turn the office into a mini-golf wonderland with an indoor mini-golf rental. Employees will form new fond memories of their workspace. Just warn others they might find a golf ball in their espresso!
- Laser tag: Laser tag is a safe way for employees to get revenge on their unrelenting boss. They get to practice teamwork and strategic thinking, too.
- Roller rink: Take employees back to their childhoods — strap on skates and zoom around a rink. To consider those who get queasy at the thought of standing on wheels, try to book at a center that offers other activities like arcade games or laser tag.
- Motivational speaker: Is a well-loved motivational speaker coming to town? Take employees on a field trip to get inspired and connect with ideas. Treat them to drinks afterward and discuss new topics.
- Museum: Another way to inspire your creative team? Take a trip to an art museum and let the pieces stir their inner muse.
3. Outdoor Venue Ideas
Encourage employees to break away from the desk and get their hearts pumping. It’ll not only help build relationships and create fun memories, but it’s good for their brains, too. Researchers at the University of Columbia found that regular aerobic exercise, or activities that get the heart pumping, boost hippocampus size. This is the part of the brain that involves learning and memory. Even more reason to get employees up and moving!
Here are ways to get together for fresh air and mental rejuvenation. Your employees will thank you for caring about them:
- Kayaking: Depending on your location, you might be able to work with a kayak service to host a corporate event.
- Zorbing: Let employees work out their stress by running in a giant hamster ball.
- Zip Line: Climb and soar with employees through a zip line obstacle course and feel at one with the squirrels.
- Horseback riding: Explore nature with employees via horseback, and then laugh about silly moments together at lunch.
- Kickball or baseball: Take the team to the local playing field and have fun. It’s an easy and affordable way to get hearts pumping, practice teamwork and feel like you’re in school again.
- Baseball game: If the collective preference is to watch a game rather than play, that can work, too! Head out for hot dogs and cold drinks to root for your area’s baseball stars.
- Tennis: Take the game to the court with some lemonade and a willingness to giggle.
- Hiking: Take employees on a trek through a forest and move at a pace everyone can handle. No woods or mountain trails nearby? Go on an urban hike instead and treat employees to a good cup of coffee along the way.
- Biking: Bike around town or at a park. Plan it in the middle of the day to break up the monotony and get creative juices flowing.
- Archery: Some of your employees may discover a new skill, or lack thereof — but they will still feel special holding a bow and arrow.
- Go-kart: What could possibly be more fun than a go-kart race?
- Fruit picking: Visit a farm, fill up baskets with delicious produce and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
- Food festival: Check the papers for food festivals and take your employees on a cultural and belly-pleasing experience to show your appreciation.
- Brewery tour: You probably won’t find many employees who will argue with this idea, especially after a long week of work. Check out local breweries together for an educational, tasty and relaxing experience.
- Winery tour: For those who prefer wine, treat them to a winery tour.
- Petting zoo: Help employees relieve stress with a visit to a petting zoo. Who says you can’t talk new ideas while feeding a goat?
- Cruise: If you live close to a body of water, there is probably a boat tour you can take. Dine, enjoy the views and relax.
- Rock climbing: Either take employees to an indoor rock-climbing facility or rent a portable rock climbing wall. If your office has really high ceilings, you can lighten the mood with a rock climbing wall on a daily basis by building your own. Maybe a prize can even be waiting for them at the top.
Theme Ideas Employees Will Love
Researchers Mary Ann Glynn and Jane Webster conducted a study in the 1990s and found that playfulness is linked to innovation and motivation. This is the reason why many companies are seeking ways to incorporate playtime into employee work routines. So don’t shy away from being a bit silly on occasion — it’s good for your mind!
Here are some corporate event theme ideas, some both playful and classy, to help your employees take a break from the everyday grind and learn how to play again:
1. Tea Party
Who will be the Mad Hatter? That’s for you and your workers to decide. In the meantime, you can plan to offer tasty bite-size sandwiches, scones and other sweet desserts. Teach employees how to make a proper cup of tea, and play some tea-party themed games like tea Pictionary, tea-themed bingo or classics like Scrabble. Decorate the area with written British expressions to set the mood.
2. Picnic Theme
Picnics are well-loved for many reasons. For one, picnic food is delicious. Potato salad, hamburgers off the grill, chips and dips — it’s the perfect occasion to indulge in comfort food. Secondly, picnics often take place outside in the sunshine and fresh air. This provides the chance to play fun games like horseshoes or have a sack race. Some might prefer to lounge on a blanket with friends, which is fine, too.
The casual vibe of a picnic-themed event will help employees let down their guard and connect with one another. And if you want to use this time to talk business, there’s also room for that.
3. Chocolate Paradise
This party theme will make employees wonder if they died and went to heaven. This can be held at the office or a rented venue. It can offer everything chocolate, from a chocolate candy buffet to teaching a chocolate-making class. You can even offer chocolate alcoholic beverages like a chocolate martini or chocolate stout.
Make sure to offer fun activities in-between to prevent a chocolate overdose. Have a chocolate naming contest or play chocolate trivia. And don’t forget to hand out chocolate favors like shimmering chocolate pearls!
4. Retro Candy
If you’d rather offer more variety of candy, have a retro candy-themed event. Employees will feel dearly loved with a supply of childhood favorites. Present different candy in a buffet-style and let them take home their own goody bag.
A retro candy party wouldn’t be complete without Candy Land for playing or an open dance floor and sugar shack tunes. Make it more adult, and garnish some cocktails with scrumptious treats like flower lollipops or rock candy sticks. Make Pop Rocks martinis for a new experience with a classic candy.
5. Round-the-World Food Tour
Employees will take great pleasure in a palate-stimulating world food tour. You might offer a taco bar, Hawaiian luau food or traditional Russian fare. The options are endless, and it’s up to you how exotic you wish to get. Pair each area with beverages to match for the full experience.
Rather keep it more simple? Pick one part of the world and go all out. For example, throw a fiesta complete with piñata and salsa dancing class.
6. Carnival Theme
Employees will be thrilled to leave the desk and “step right up” to a carnival themed event. Whether indoors or outdoors, set up stands with different games and carnival treats like funnel cake and corn dogs. You might even consider renting a dunk tank, but try to stay on everyone’s good side before the event.
7. Era Theme
Time-period parties can be tons of fun, and it’s never hard to find inspiration. Just make sure you include games, music and food common to the chosen era, and you and your employees will feel like you’ve time traveled
For example, you might choose to take employees to the 1920s with a Charlie Chaplin film projected on the wall, Duke Ellington on the speakers, and a platter of deviled eggs for all to enjoy.
Skip back to the eighties and have a candy guessing contest or a Madonna lip-syncing competition. Find out who in the office can moonwalk.
8. Casino Theme
Create the classic casino atmosphere with dazzling lights, swanky decor and smooth jazz. Contact a local game company and rent tables to play roulette, poker and blackjack. Offer prizes like chocolate gold coins and make your staff feel like high rollers.
A masquerade ball is the chance to decorate with things that sparkle and shine. Use items like metallic balloons, beaded necklaces and feathers to create a whimsical atmosphere filled with intrigue. Further set the mood with classical music and a masquerade dress code.
Serve classy dishes like crab puffs and caviar. Play murder mystery games to stay in the mood or learn to waltz! Don’t forget to have an hour for unmasking.
There are lots of ways to strengthen relationships, build teams and keep employees engaged. Many ideas are simple, require little investment and are tons of fun. It’s great for employee performance, too. In fact, a 2015 Gallup Poll found that engagement and well-being are keys to employee performance. Here are some team-building ideas to share with your employees:
Bingo is fun for all ages, especially when prizes like restaurant gift cards or mystery candy bags are involved. Although Bingo might not be seen as a team effort, it teaches team members not be a sore loser when their co-worker wins a week’s supply of Tootsie Pops.
2. Escape Game
Take a group of employees to an escape room and discover the true meaning of teamwork. In an escape room, your group will be given a set amount of time to use clues, solve puzzles and find the key to escape. It’s a fun way to get to know one another and work under pressure.
Test you and your employees’ scriptwriting and acting skills and make a movie or music video. Have a competition for the funniest film or the most original. Host a movie-watching night, pop some popcorn serve drinks for a bonding experience like that of close friends.
4. Board Games
There are dozens of team-building board games on the market and they are only a quick internet search away. Classics like charades or Trivial Pursuit, or newer games like Codenames or Telestrations are all good choices. Offer prizes to motivate players and make sure there are lots of tasty treats to snack on!
5. TV Game Shows
Set up the atmosphere with a game show soundtrack, colorful decorations and a handy sound effects button. Have a whiteboard or chalkboard ready to keep score and prizes in view. Play games like Jeopardy, Family Feud or The Price is Right for a day of nostalgic and stimulating fun.
6. Scavenger Hunt
Break employees into teams and take them on an indoor or outdoor scavenger hunt. Like an escape game, employees will work together to use clues along the way. Don’t just hide objects and have employees find them, though. Set up puzzles and obstacle courses they must complete to move forward.
Combine Hollywood with food for a TV-style cook-off competition. Form teams and let them test their cooking skills in ways they would’ve never imagined. The best part? Everyone gets to try their masterpieces at the end.
Choose a food category they must work with and add one ingredient each team must use. For example, say you instruct teams to make pizza. Then tell them they must somehow use chocolate syrup in their recipe. See what happens.
8. Interactive Ideas
Rent a digital graffiti wall for employees to express themselves and interact, or you can try building a DIY photo booth. Don’t forget props like hats, mustaches and cardboard cutouts. Upload photos to a picture-altering app and create silly or psychedelic pics your office can laugh about for weeks.
Where to Get Candy for Your Next Event
No matter what theme or activity you choose for your corporate event, it’s most important to consider the things that bring your employees joy and motivate them. What makes them happy? What stimulates them? Often, the simplest things in life bring the greatest pleasure.
For example, everyone loves candy! It’s one of those simple joys that are easy to add to any gathering. Considering adding a candy buffet or candy favors to your next corporate event? From nostalgic classics like candy necklaces to dark green M&M’s, we have everything you need to hit the spot and add color to your party décor!
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