Should Company Outings be Mandatory?
Company culture is one of the most important aspects of any organization, especially when it comes to its employees. The atmosphere of the workplace can positively or negatively affect a worker’s performance. If managers and supervisors are approachable, make employees feel valuable and like they belong, workers will be happier in the office. Disgruntled managers, harshness and cold or demeaning attitudes toward employees will produce a negative vibe, making workers not as eager to be in the office.
What is one good way to build and maintain your company’s culture? Have company outings. Company, department or team outings are important for a variety of reasons:
Sometimes people can feel uptight in the office, especially while trying to uphold the professionalism standard. Gathering outside of the office, especially in a fun, casual setting, can help workers feel more comfortable and relaxed.
Work produces stress, this is a no-brainer. Juggling meetings, clients, hectic schedules and projects on a daily basis can create a lot of tension. Company outings provide an outlet to get away from all the busyness a typical work day can bring allowing employees to unwind and relieve their stress.
Outings aren’t just for fun and relaxation, but they give workers the opportunity to learn new things about other employees. Although you may see a colleague at work every day, often times, there’s a difference between an individual’s at-work self and outside-work self. The outing may be work related, but you will be surprised at how much you can learn about someone when you put him or her in a new setting.
Change of scenery
You see the office every day and sometimes that can become boring. A change of scenery every now and then can be good. New environments can bring new attitudes. Perhaps a worker was having a stressful week in the office, yet the company outing on Friday at a local restaurant helped change his or her mood. Atmosphere (and ambiance) makes a world of difference.
The main purpose of a team outing is the team. How do we help strengthen our team? How can we make this team better? Outings, especially ones with team-building activities, help to unify a group, which can ultimately make it more cohesive and function better in the company. Better functioning teams and departments make for a more productive company overall.
Yet, many organizations rarely schedule company outings, if at all. Some reasons for this include: lack of time, lack of interest (on both employees’ and managers’ part), virtual offices and/or remote employees. During one of my internships, one intern took the initiative to organize intern outings. She regularly emailed all the interns inviting us to gather for different outings. Out of the more than 50 interns working for the company, I was surprised by the few who would show up for the outings. We always had a great time and I not only met new people and made connections (as interns worked in various departments), but I learned so much about my fellow interns as well.
Gathering with coworkers outside of the office is very beneficial, but we all know no matter how many of your colleagues you invite, someone is bound to not show up. Should companies make these outings mandatory? Below are key advantages and disadvantages of mandating your next company, department or team gathering:
- Greater attendance results. If an outing is required, more workers are likely to show up than if it’s optional.
- Better way to ensure entire team knows and networks with one another. Many people do not even sit close to their teammates in an office because of space. Some workers rarely see or physically interact with their colleagues except for a company meeting.
- Team can build social skills outside the office.
- Making an outing mandatory is risky. Workers may have other scheduling conflicts or may feel it’s unfair to mandate anything outside office hours. Complaints could arise.
- Doing something by force rather than will can affect performance. Employees may not enjoy themselves or reap the full benefits of the outing if they feel like they have to attend.
- Rebellion. Just because rules are in place doesn’t mean people always follow them. If an outing is mandatory and the consequences are “light,” employees who really don’t wish to attend can skip. If workers regularly disregard required gatherings and are willing to suffer the consequences, the outing attempts will be unsuccessful.
What do you think? Should companies require their workers to attend gatherings outside the office?