Take it Offsite: Have a Green Company Outing

Remember those sunny days back in school when the teacher would take class outside?  While the lesson plan was the same, being outside added a new, exciting dynamic to group learning.  In fact, according to studies, children who are taught outdoors increase their test scores by 27 percent.

Your business can realize similar boosts in productivity and morale with offsite team building events like employee/family picnics and service projects.  Company outings encourage employee interaction, which can improve team dynamics, reduce stress, and increase performance when you return to the office.  You can create the same lively feeling in your professional life with employee events like company picnics and off site team building events.

Make your next offsite a green activity.  While your team is bonding, relaxing and having fun, you can also help the environment, encourage responsible eco-friendly practices in your employees and their families, and even get some good press coverage.  Here are six ideas for how you can take your work outside and be green at the same time:

1)    Pick a green venue.  Literally.  Local parks and sports fields offer ample opportunities for employee fun and are usually a cost-effective choice.  Choose a location that is close to your office during the week, or central to most employees on the weekend, and arrange a shuttle or encourage carpooling to cut down on transportation.  A park with a great playground eliminates the need for energy-hogging bouncy castles and expensive entertainment for the kids.

2)    Use green invitations. Services like Evite, Paperless Post, and Punch Bowl allow you to send creative, themed invitation via email and gives you the added benefit of managing your responses online without having to print invitations for every member of your team.  Hanging a few printed signs in high-traffic areas around the office will promote the event and eliminate the paper waste of flyers.

3)    Decorate in eco-friendly style.  Keeps dates and event specific details off signage: A simple “Welcome!” or event “Welcome ABC Employees and Friends!” can be stored and reused at future events.  For paper products, choose green options made of sustainable, biodegradable materials like those found at Green Irene or EcoProducts.  Ask employees to lend serving ware and other non-disposable items for use at the event to further cut down on waste.

4)    Hand out green party favors. Everybody likes a souvenir!  Make eco-friendly choices by handing out reusable bags, or recycled water or stainless steel water bottles imprinted with your company logo or just a “go green” reminder.  Bring refreshments in five-gallon drink dispensers and hand out reusable water bottles at the beginning of the event to eliminate the need for plastic cups and bottled water.

5)    Get some green PR. Let the community know that your company is dedicated to employee satisfaction and also keeping our Earth clean with pre-event public relations. 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. Remove all your trash (and other people’s too!) when your event is over.  Set up a recycling center at the event and encourage attendees to separate their waste.  Enlist the kids to pick up 10 or 20 pieces of trash each – and reward them with a small prize.  If garbage cans are too small to hold all your waste, or if there are none available, drive your rubbish home and dispose of it there.  Ditto with recycling or compostable materials.  When you leave the site, there should be no trace of your event ever having been there.  As they say in the park business, “Take only photographs and leave only footprints.”

Plan a green event today and take your team outside to play.  You’ll not only have a great time, your business will benefit, too.

About Marcos Cordero

Marcos J. Cordero is the co-founder and CEO of the Green Business Bureau, a leading green business certification organization that helps small and mid-sized businesses implement sustainability practices.
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