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Why Hosting a Company Picnic Can Significantly Boost Employee Morale

Why Hosting a Company Picnic Can Significantly Boost Employee Morale

Have you ever gone to a work-sponsored event? Even if hanging out with your colleagues isn’t your ideal version of a night out, the benefits of a company picnic are substantial. Attending one can result in numerous physical, mental and social gains, boosting workplace morale. Over time, these improvements can enhance both your professional and personal life.

Various studies indicate attending is better for you — and them — in the long run. So, what makes attending a company picnic so special?

1. Sunlight Can Improve Your Mood

A sunlit picnic isn’t just a nice break from a stuffy cubicle — it’s also good for your mental health. Sunlight exposure and mental health have a positive correlation, meaning if one goes up, so does the other — and vice versa. In other words, the more time you spend in natural light, the better your mood will be. 

Natural light contains Vitamin D, which you need to fend off symptoms of depression. One of the main benefits of a company picnic is that it gives you the perfect excuse to soak up some rays, potentially boosting your mood for weeks. These long-lasting effects will carry you through the days when the only light you get is from the artificial overhead bulbs.

2. Connections Reduce Workplace Conflict

A casual event is the perfect excuse to get to know your colleagues on a more personal level. Even if you see those people daily, it’s an opportunity to interact without the pressure of due dates or the social constraints of a professional setting.

Spending time with your colleagues at a company picnic will be a memorable experience, giving you something to reflect on when you’re at work. You’ll associate those fond memories with the people you work with, resulting in less infighting and better workplace morale.

3. You Bond Over New Experiences

While many picnics center on hotdogs and hamburgers, company-sponsored events often have a diverse blend of dishes from several cultures. Sharing a meal you haven’t tried before with your colleagues can be a bonding experience that strengthens your professional relationships. There’s also a strong chance you’ll try something you end up liking.

Besides, the memory of a good meal lasts well beyond the time it takes you to finish your plate. For example, drinking ice-cold sake — a sweet Japanese alcoholic beverage — for the first time is as satisfying as it is memorable. While it’s typically served alongside appetizers, bending the rules for a casual occasion is fine.

4. Interactions Reduce Miscommunications

One of the main benefits of a company picnic is that it makes cross-department interactions possible. You connect with a diverse group of people, some of whom you rarely — or never — interact with. Getting to know each other can improve your teamwork down the line.

Interacting with people from other departments for an extended period also helps you find common ground and get a sense of each other’s communication styles, reducing future miscommunications. These changes can boost your workplace’s morale in the long term.

5. Nature Can Improve Your Mood

Every plant produces volatile organic compounds called phytoncides. Basically, they’re airborne chemicals you inhale when in nature. Research shows they boost your immune system. One study’s participants experienced those benefits for up to one month after exposure after spending just a few days outdoors.

Exposure to greenery also boosts your stress recovery rate, reduces your anxiety levels, improves your sleep quality and strengthens your focus. The oxygen-rich air, coupled with plants’ phytoncides, increases your resilience to mental and physical ailments, which can improve your morale at work.

6. You Feel Seen and Appreciated

One of the biggest benefits of a company picnic is that it shows you how much your employer values your team’s work. The food, drinks, yard games and activities are a visible display of recognition — the effort is supposed to make you feel celebrated.

It’s nice to feel appreciated, especially if work has been stressing you out lately. While you might joke that a raise is the best reward, recent research suggests symbolic awards like public recognition can significantly improve motivation, performance and engagement.

7. Your Company’s Values Are on Display

Company picnics are typically family-friendly events, supplying things like bounce houses, bean bag tosses and face-painting stations. Usually, blurring the work-life balance is a gray area for morale. In this case, it’s beneficial — it gives you a look into your colleagues’ personal lives and shows you your employer sees you as more than just an employee.

Having management acknowledge your personal life this way can boost your morale because it reaffirms your work-life balance. On top of humanizing your workplace by reminding you that you, your co-workers and your bosses are regular people with lives and families of their own, it highlights your company’s family values.

8. Your Company’s Culture Strengthens

Culture building is another one of the benefits of a company picnic. As corny as it may sound, relaxing with your colleagues and participating in team-building activities spotlights your organization's values and mission, making you feel more harmonious.

When you align yourself with your work, your morale increases. According to one study, people who feel connected to their company’s culture are 3.7 times as likely to engage with their job and 5.2 times as likely to recommend their workplace as a great place to work.

9. The Event Demonstrates Job Security

One of the commonly-overlooked benefits of a company picnic is that it showcases how your employer is doing. Unless they skimp on condiments or cut pizza slices thin, a big event is usually a sign of prosperity — a sign they’re doing well financially or things are looking up.

When you know your employer is doing well, you know you have job security — automatically improving your workplace’s morale. Depending on your industry, not worrying about layoffs or closures is a refreshing change of pace.

You Won’t Regret Attending the Company Picnic

Participating in a work event for a day full of natural light, greenery, good food and fun games is worth the effort. In addition to potentially improving your mood, mental health and immune system, it could strengthen your teamwork, company culture and values. This one commitment can set you on a path toward success in your professional and personal life.

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