Most Effective Time
The best part about hosting a holiday party is having everyone there to celebrate. Consider your business’ schedule and your employees’ schedules. Pick a time where your whole staff isn’t rushing around to finish a project – that way everyone can focus on having a good time! Consider sending around a questionnaire with a few dates and then select the most popular date.
Select your Budget
Be sure to set a budget before you partake in any planning. Just like a wedding or any special event, a budget it key. Once you know your budget, you can move ahead with the list below!
Pick a Team
If you’re the boss, you’re probably extremely busy and don’t have the time it takes to plan a holiday party all on your own. Consider having a “Holiday Party Team” signup list. Appoint a team captain and let them plan the party with you! This is also a good way to make sure your staff gets a party they’ll truly enjoy.
Establish a Theme
Your theme can be multi-faceted. Not only should you decide on whether you want a day or night party, but also if you want it to be at the office or away, fancy, low-key or holiday-themed attire will also play a part in how you plan the rest. When you pick a theme, think of your staff. If they dress up daily, they may want to unwind and enjoy sporting jeans and a holiday sweater. If your team wears a uniform or doesn’t dress up on the daily, they may want to be more spiffy!
Select a Venue
Select a venue that will set the mood for the theme. If you are having a low-key night, you may pick a local pub, bowling alley, community centre or venue such as the ever-popular axe throwing. If you’d rather throw a swanky affair, look at fancier restaurants, upscale event venues or have your office transformed by an event decorator. Lighting, decor and tablescapes will all speak to the theme you are trying to execute.
Remember to ask your venue important questions such as:
• What is your tear down policy?
• What is your capacity?
• When can we have the space for setup?
• Are you comfortable catering to food allergies?
Select the Menu
This is where your budget really comes into play. Your food is usually a large part of the bill so be sure to have a number in mind. A buffet is usually cheaper than a plated meal. If you are having a later party, you could also keep the bill low by having passed snacks. For a low-key office party, a home cooked potluck might be exactly what they want. With allergies on the rise, send out an email asking for people to submit their food allergies that way they are included. Most venues and caterers will accommodate food allergies.
Be weary of alcohol. It’s always a party starter, but when it is overdone it can also kill the party vibe and get messy. If this is a concern of yours, try limiting the time your open bar is open or have a signature cocktail which is free. These ideas also help keep the bar tab down! If this is not a large concern, see the next step below:
It doesn’t hurt to remind everyone of office party etiquette, if you’re worried about sounding too harsh, try making it a joke. You could create a fun infographic, a video or a poem. Some things you may want to remind them of is: no intoxicated or inappropriate social media tagging or posting from office accounts – by all means remind them to have as much fun as possible – but keep it to personal accounts. Drinking and driving, and inclusion. Work parties are a great way to increase employee morale – but having cliques and people left out can do the opposite. Try having a bingo card which gets people talking with all member of the team.
Itinerary and Thank You’s
Every event needs a roll out. Have a timeline either posted with a welcome sign at the door or tell everyone during a welcome speech. Also remember to take a moment to thank your staff for all of their hard work and support.
A little Extra
• Have welcome drinks
• Hire a photographer and/or photo booth operator
• Hand out goodie bags
• Remember a coat room
• Transportation: if you have an open bar, consider providing cab fare coupons or public transit passes. If you have a small group, you could hire a limo to take you from location to location