This weekend I attended my very first company picnic. The new company I work for sent out an email a few weeks ago with an invitation to the picnic and I RSVP'd for both my husband and I to attend. The weather was perfect -- upper 80s was the coolest day Wisconsin had seen in over a week. We drove the 45 minutes to the facility that was hosting the picnic, parked and walked in with the hundreds of other employees.
It was a very nice day. We ate brats and potato salad, played bingo and listened to music. I was able to introduce my husband to a few coworkers and we enjoyed sitting in the shade and relaxing for the majority of the day. There were BMX bike shows each hour and a classic car show that were each fun to see. We sat under a tree for a while and "people-watched" all of the employees laughing together, playing with their children on all the carnival rides and conversing as friends. I had my fair share of ice cream bars and left the picnic with a mild sunburn.
It was interesting for me to experience how such a simple day could provide such rejuvenation to the company's employees. In just a few short hours we had shared a beautiful summer day with hardly a concern in the world; worrying about what to eat next instead of deadlines, meeting agendas and fitting another patient onto my already full schedule.
There are many articles about the interesting perks some companies offer in addition to traditional compensation packages. I've read about companies that provide weekly onsite farmer's markets to allow their employees an opportunity to purchase fresh produce during the summer. There are companies that have onsite dry cleaning, or free gym memberships, flexible telecommuting options to work from home, onsite daycare, even free haircuts. I think companies are starting to recognize that employee satisfaction and retention are not just about salaries and they are more willing to offer non-traditional benefits, such as a summer picnic.
What do you think? Have you ever worked for a company that offered picnics, holiday parties or other perks?