Should Employee Entertainment Events be Held Onsite or Offsite?

So you or your boss has decided to entertain the staff. Besides the obvious questions of what kind of activity and what time of year, another question you’re likely grappling with is: should we do this  here at the office, or somewhere else?

The answer is that both options have their merits – as well as their limitations. Below are the biggest pros and cons for holding your employee event offsite or onsite, to help you make your decision:


First, the upside to having your event outside of the office:

  1. Activity Becomes an “Escape” – Employees will feel more relaxed, comfortable and socialable outside of the workplace. This is especially important if your event is a formal “team building” activity
  2. More Customization Opportunity – You have a variety of options for food, drink and venue, which will help you tailor the event to your specific group
  3. Improved Dynamics – A different environment will produce entirely new energy among the group; for an entertainment event, this will most likely net positive results

Now, for the challenges which go along with it:

  1. Cost – Renting space, providing transportation and food/beverage expense are all realities which accompany offsite employee entertainment
  2. Attrition – Whether youchoose a venue 20 miles away or around the block, once you ask your employees to go offsite, you’ve increased the likelihood that people can’t (or won’t) attend
  3. Shopping Time – Unless you know exactly where you want your event held, you’ll likely need to research venues, as well as make numerous site visits in advance of booking a space


Now let’s look at the advantages of keeping your activity in the office:

  1. Budget-Friendly – Especially in this economy, if you’re looking to entertain staff on a limited budget, there is no better way than to do it in your own space
  2. Control – When the space is yours, you have complete control over access, configuration, decoration and a host of other factors not always at your disposal at offsite venues
  3. Timing – Since it’s your space and everyone’s at the office already, you can hold your event whenever you want- morning, afternoon or evening

And the challenges associated here:

  1. Limited Space Options – You are limited to utilizing whatever physical space you have, for better or for worse
  2. More Legwork – Unless your office comes equipped with a fully-stocked bar and working kitchen, you’ll need to go out and find your own vendors for food, beverage, tables, chairs etc.
  3. Harder Sell to Staff – No matter how well you are able to “transform” the workplace, your staff will still be aware that they’re at work, and will keep their guard up to a degree

In my opinion, I feel that going offsite the better option, with the benefits outweighing the challenges. However, both onsite and offsite employee entertainment events can be extremely successful, and if done well your staff will absolutely appreciate your efforts.

What do you think- entertain your employees in the office, or out?

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