Team-building and social events can help make employees feel that they belong with their colleagues, as accepted, valued, and engaged members of the group. However, if such events are not accessible and inclusive, they can accomplish the opposite, causing those somehow left out to feel excluded and underappreciated.
Planning for work-related events that take place outside the workplace requires attention to the accessibility of other facilities. Restaurants, conference centres, and recreation venues can present their own barriers. Finding or create a checklist for accessibility can make the planning process easier. It’s also a good idea to send information to event attendees in advance. Even if planners are familiar with the diversity of their teams in advance of the event, if it is a social occasion to which employees may bring partners, friends, and family, other needs may need to be considered as well.
In addition to physical accessibility, other considerations may include dietary needs, the energy or skill required to participate in the activity, transportation to the venue, or the availability of privacy or space to take a break.
The National Service Inclusion Project has a web page of suggestions and resources for anyone planning an inclusive conference or event here.