The Purpose of Corporate Sports Events and Some Tips
In recent years, “in-house events as opportunities for employee communication” have been attracting more and more popularity.
Among them, “Corporate Sports Events” have been gaining in both popularity and numbers held. Although the popularity of such events has been on the wane since the Japanese bubble era, companies are reevaluating them as recreational events and opportunities for internal exchanges, with many companies holding them for the first time in several decades.
In this journal, we will provide information on the current status of corporate sports events, which have been noticed to hold new value, as well as key points to consider when hosting them.
What is a Corporate Sports Event?
To begin with, what is meant by a corporate sports event?
There is no clear definition, but in most cases, it refers to a large-scale recreational event in which all employees participate, and in which physical exercise is the main focus.
The important point here is that it is not a competition. What is important in a corporate sports event is not the physical ability of each individual, but rather cooperation, a sense of unity, and the opportunity to exercise. It is important to keep in mind that “the purpose of the event is recreation and team building,” which will lead to the planning of a good company athletic meet.
The purpose of a corporate sports event varies from company to company, but can be broadly categorized as “promoting communication among employees,” “relieving lack of exercise,” “team building”. It is also possible to make it a family event in which employees’ families can also participate, or to add an element of an outdoor festival by inviting stalls and kitchen cars, etc., for the purpose of also providing consolation to employees and their families.
Why Corporate Sports Events is Once Again in the Spotlight
Corporate athletic events have been on the decline for the past two to three decades, but have suddenly gained momentum in recent years. One possible reason for this is the “decrease in opportunities for face-to-face communication” due to telework and other factors. Since the outbreak of Covid, telework and telecommuting have taken center stage, creating an atmosphere of hesitation to engage in small talk even in the office, and online meetings such as those using zoom are required to efficiently discuss agenda items, making real communication between employees extremely difficult. Habits that have become ingrained in these situations are not so easy to break out of, even if the Covid settles down. This is why there is a need for corporate athletic meets where people can enjoy real communication and cooperation.
There are many advantages to corporate athletic events, but the following three are considered the most important.
1: Employee interaction that transcends positions, duties, and departments
Communication in a company is often determined by “job description” or “position,” which tends to limit what you can talk about and with whom. Also, even if you are in the same company, people in different departments may not even know each other’s names. In this respect, a company sports event can bring together employees from different departments as a team, and there is no urgent feel to talk about work-related matters. As a result, it creates a natural opportunity for employees who do not have the chance to interact with each other in their daily work.
2: Promotes exercise
We often hear that teleworking and telecommuting have resulted in a lack of exercise. However, for those who do not exercise on a regular basis, “exercise” in and of itself is a high hurdle that they tend to put off because it is too much trouble. Of course, a single company athletic meet is not enough to eliminate the lack of daily exercise. However, it is possible to feel refreshed and relaxed, even if only temporarily, by “moving your body with all might” through a company athletic event. It is also a useful opportunity to experience the benefits of exercise.
3: Useful for team building
There is one characteristic that sets corporate athletic meets apart from other events. It is that it is “completely unrelated to day-to-day business”. In other words, participants can take part in the event without worrying about the ties and differences in positions that would inevitably arise in the workplace. When there is a tug-of-war or a ball game in which teams work together as one, they naturally become cooperative, which leads to team building as a result. Company athletic events is a very effective way to experience cooperation in non-work-related activities.
Disadvantages of Corporate Sports Events
As you can see, there are many advantages to in-house athletic meets, but there are naturally some disadvantages as well. Here are some commonly mentioned disadvantages and their solutions.
1: Risk of injury
Corporate athletic meets, as the name implies, involve ‘exercise’ and inevitably carry a risk of injury. Ironically, the risk of injury increases as people who do not normally exercise become more active. Injury precautions are essential at a company athletic meet.
First, it is essential to have a first-aid staff on hand. Depending on the nature of the event, it is also important for participants to have event insurance to cover injuries. In addition, if an in-house athletic event is held as part of the company’s operations, injuries sustained during the event will be subject to workers’ compensation certification. It is important for the organizer to consider that “injuries are bound to happen” and take measures in advance.
2: Lack of motivation for people who do not like to exercise
Field day is often thought of as a fun event, but it can be a nightmare for those who dislike sports. In their school days, athletic meets tend to test physical abilities, and not a few people have had bitter experiences with them. Some companies may attract more people with a strong negative image towards exercise.
The important thing to remember here is that these in-house athletic meets are not a place to compete in physical ability. Even if there is a competitive element, the underlying concept is recreation. Let’s decide on the program based on this point. Another way to ease the resistance of those who dislike exercise is to be creative from the very beginning as the event is announced and clarify the purpose of the field day.
3: Holding the event on a day off could be counterproductive
The term “field day” and the image of it as a recreational event tend to lead people to assume that in-house fields days are held on Saturdays and Sundays. However, if the event is held on a weekend or holiday, the impression that “vacation time was taken up by an in-house event” will prevail, and there is a risk that motivation and participation rates will drop. Conversely, if the event is held on a weekday as part of the business, participation rate will be higher and motivation is easily maintained. The secret of success for an in-house athletic meet is to increase participation. If the event is held on a holiday, try to create an environment in which people can participate without hesitation, such as by providing a compensatory day off.
What kind of competitions and games would work for in-house athletic meets? Sample Contents for your In-House Sports Day
An important aspect of holding a company athletic meet is the program content, or games. As mentioned above, the main purpose of a company field day is recreation and team building, so it is recommended to focus on group competitions rather than individual sports. In addition, the rules should be simple and easy to understand, so that both participants and spectators can easily get excited.
Balls in Basket
This is a game popular in Japan in which a ball is thrown into a basket fixed high above the ground. Anyone can participate, regardless of physical ability. It is also easy to create variations, such as a person with a basket on his back running around, or parents and children participating at the same time.
Tug of War
In this game, two teams are divided into two teams and pull a large rope together. Teamwork is tested as the teams must work together to win. Another advantage of this event is that both parents and children can participate at the same time. Since this game requires more physical strength than it seems, it is recommended to put it in the first half to the middle of the event when the participants are still energized.
One of the highlights of a field day is the team relay. In addition to the physical abilities of individual members, teamwork is also required, including baton passing. It is recommended at the end of the event, as it is an event that is easy for the entire crowd to get excited cheering their teams.
Giant Jump Rope
This is a competition in which participants jump a large rope. There are several patterns, including a method in which participants jump one by one, or start with participants lined up in a row. Since the main test is a sense of rhythm, even those who are not confident in their strength and speed can participate. The first half to the middle of the program is recommended, as it is quite strenuous when it is held for a long period of time.
Where to hold the Sports Day
The key to holding a corporate athletic event is the “venue”. As long as the event is held as a corporate event, it is necessary to rent a venue. In doing so, you should pay attention to the “location and capacity” and “rain measures”. In addition to the location being easy for employees to get to and having sufficient seating capacity, the venue you choose will also depend on whether the event will be held rain or shine or it will be postponed. For example, if the event is a festival-like field day that includes employees’ families, a large stadium would be a good candidate. The choice will depend on the number of people gathered and the content of the event, so it is important to select a location based on the purpose of the event and the participants.
What to wear to an in-house athletic event? What should participants be aware of?
The essential ingredient for a successful corporate athletic meet is attire. Of course, comfortable athletic wear is a prerequisite. Long pants (jerseys) and athletic shoes are recommended to prevent injuries, especially to the feet.
In addition, we recommend that each team prepare matching T-shirts or uniforms to enhance team building and unity. By having different colors and designs for each team, it will be easier for participants and spectators to identify the teams and cheer them on. It will also make the day more memorable.
Case Studies of Corporate Sports Events
Major IT company: In-house athletic meet
A field day event during Covid. We proposed a hybrid field day because it was difficult in terms of Covid measures to get everyone to gather to the event venue. We planned the field day interactively, with live participants taking part in the competitions at the venue and online viewers predicting the standings of the competitions. Online participants felt as if they are watching a sports game on TV.
Pre-event for the Tokyo Olympics
The purpose was to hold a test event for the Olympics while allowing the audience to feel the excitement of the World Championships in “Tokyo,” the host city of the 2020 Olympics. The feature of the production was the marching of flags of each country at the opening ceremony, as it was the World Championships. In addition, to symbolize the event being held in Japan, all companions were dressed in kimono. We created a space where the participants could feel the active sense of sports through smooth communication with the overseas staff and participants.
Major IT Company: Internal Sports Day
The client’s intention was to create a festival-like event that could be enjoyed by all family members, so we designed a program that included an all-participant event in which everyone could participate in the games at the same time, and an exciting relay race. We also designed content where all participants could enjoy by interspersing open-air festival contents throughout the venue that could be enjoyed by those not playing in the games.
How to organize an in-house field day and tips to success
The actual organization of a company sports event will be planned as follows.
1: Defining participants and venue
Basically, an in-house athletic meet is a live event. Therefore, the venue chosen will depend on the number of participants and where they are coming from. First of all, you should select a venue based on who will be attending. Whether it’s aimed for all employees, or only to those who wish to, whether or not family members will be invited, and how many people in total are expected to attend.
2: Designing Content
As noted above, there are many advantages and disadvantages to a corporate athletic event. In addition, the direction of the event will change depending on whether the main purpose is recreation or team building. It is important to take these factors into account and choose content that participants will enjoy.
3: Announcing the event
A company field day differs from daily business operations. Since the content of the event is not directly related to business operations, such as a kick-off, it is essential to try to motivate participants. The planning team should design the event announcement exciting by informing the contents of the event, and advertising to raise participants’ expectations.
For physically active events, in addition to the usual event preparations, it is essential to have a system in place for injury risk and event insurance. If the event is held outdoors, be prepared for rain. Also, don’t forget to prepare items to liven up the event, such as ordering uniforms and T-shirts for each team!
Tips to a successful Corporate Sports Event
The key to a successful company field day is to “build up pre-event excitement” and “safety”. Because it is a recreational event that is not so much related to daily work, the question is how to get people involved and how to motivate them before the day of the event. In addition to offering prizes to the winning team, design content that makes even non-exercisers think, “I can do this event, too,” and provide cheering merchandise and matching uniforms.
In addition, as long as exercise is involved, the risk of injury is unavoidable. It is important to have measures in place to ensure that participants can participate with peace of mind, such as creating an environment for safe consultation and a first-aid system, as well as joining event insurance and applying for workers’ compensation as part of their duties.
Company Sports Events are recreational real-life events that allow people to get away from their daily work and move their bodies. It has the potential to be an opportunity to address the lack of communication and exercise that has become a concern with teleworking and other forms of work. The special feeling of changing from a suit to sportswear and competing in an event that has nothing to do with one’s usual job title is something that cannot be replaced by any other event. Why not hold a corporate field day when it’s a great way to build your team and teamwork?