With the festivities of the holiday season just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your holiday office party.
Whether you’ve volunteered or been tasked the role of party planner, the pressure is on! Let’s face it, office parties have a reputation for being boring, mandatory and sometimes even awkward. Your challenge is to create a fun environment that lets everyone take off their work hat and start getting to know each other beyond their scope of work.
Host a memorable experience, one that will leave your colleagues raving about for months to come and you will be rewarded with positive associations that will help you in your career!
Here are some party planning tips :
Choose a unique location
The last thing your colleagues want to do is celebrate in the same place where they hold their meetings and eat their lunches. Scout for a unique location and space. The anticipation of being able to experience a new venue will add to a great dining or cocktail event
Always choose a space that is appropriate for your group size. Too big a venue and small groups will congregate in various corners, running the risk of no one socialising beyond their friendship circles. Too small and it will be an uncomfortable squeeze, encouraging people to leave prematurely .
A standing reception is usually the most appropriate setting for an office party. It helps keep things casual, lets people move around the room and encourages mingling . Just make sure there are chairs and couches around the room too for those that prefer to sit and take a rest.
Different strokes for different folks
One thing to remember is that your definition of an awesome party is not necessarily one shared by everyone. Try your best to accommodate different interests so everyone feels included and comfortable. From the choice of venue (pick somewhere that is accessible), the food and drinks (cater to different dietary preferences) to the atmosphere (not everyone enjoys loud music). These careful considerations will ensure you host a successful party.
Maximise value within budget
It is important to keep within the budget given, so make sure you get value for every dollar you spend. For example, pre-ordering bottles of wine and beer might be a better choice than opting for a free-flow beverage package if you know your group doesn’t drink excessively. Generally, people consume about an average of 3 glasses per 2-hour period and drink more white than red (unless the main course is red meat). As a yardstick, for every 10 bottles of white or sparkling wines ordered, only 2 bottles of red are needed. This helps to control cost while ensuring a variety of drinks and food are available.
Food & Drink
Choosing an appropriate style of food service helps to set the mood. A buffet or passed canapés are great choices for a casual setting. Be sure to also choose small bites that can be eaten comfortably (and preferably without cutlery) while juggling a glass of wine in the other hand.
For drinks, make sure to include an alcohol range of wine, beer, and cocktails. Remember though, some of your colleagues may not necessarily enjoy alcohol. Putting an effort into the choice of non-alcoholic beverages, even offering a specialty mocktail will make them feel taken care of. .
Make it Festive
Nothing gets people in the mood faster than lighting, decorations and music. These event touches work like magic in setting a festive atmosphere. Don’t go overboard, but some baubles, streamers or even a Christmas tree will do the trick. Also, don’t forget the music. Spend some time and create a holiday playlist, mixing up traditional holiday music with an easy listening mix of pop and jazz that will help everyone loosen up and maybe even inspire a sing-along.
Try setting a colour or dress theme when you send out the invitations to enhance the mood further and get everyone excited about the party! Keep it simple though (remember, it’s an office party not a pageant) with an easy colour theme like red & gold. You wouldn’t want people finding it a chore to dress up and spend extra time and money on new clothing.
Fun and Games
While this may not be for everyone, a favourite tradition at this time of year is the Secret Santa gift exchange. Everyone is appointed a person to buy a gift for by drawing a name randomly. Facilitating this can be as simple as placing handwritten names into a bowl for your colleagues to select or utilising free online apps and tools to help you randomise and generate your Secret Santa. At the party, the actual exchange happens and everyone has fun guessing who drew their name.
If the budget allows, invest in party favours that let everyone remember the occasion. Small mementos and gifts like baked confections or a candle with personalised names show you care. These simple touches go a long way! Just don’t be tempted to regift leftover corporate gifts meant for your clients!
Your Boss is still your Boss
Last but not least, remember that your boss still has the final say. Even if not all your fun and creative ideas make the cut, your job is to influence and convince your boss why these will make it a memorable party. Work within the limits, put in the effort and you’ll be rewarded with a fun celebration enjoyed and remembered by everyone!
Have a great year-end celebration!