Those who’ve yet to attend an office party typically assume they’re all similar to those held on the television comedy series “The Office”. We don’t know your employees or your workplace culture, but we’ll go ahead and assume that you all would like to celebrate another successful year with something a little more exciting than a questionable potluck under a fluorescent lit ceiling. That being said, we also understand that not everyone is a party planner. Especially not at this, the busiest time of the year. That’s why we’re offering up our 12 steps to making this year’s office get-together one that your employees will actually want to go to. Check it out then get your planning on!
1. Define Your Budget
It all begins with an effective budget. Setting your budget will tell you what you can and cannot do throughout the rest of your planning efforts. Speak with the higher ups to confirm a budget before you start coming up with fabulous ideas for holiday fun.
2. Set a System for Company Records
We know you’re going to knock it out of the park this year, so it’s important to create a formula to replicate this success next year. Collect all phone numbers and email addresses for your preferred vendors. Track what you bought, how much of it, and for how many people.
3. Take a Guest Tally
Send out an invite and require that your employees RSVP with any additional guests they plan to bring. Keep tally to adjust catering and venue setup accordingly.
4. Carefully Pick Your Venue
As mentioned above, your employees deserve more than a night under fluorescent lighting. Whether you choose to have your party in a home or at another venue, aim for a place outside of your office. Get creative with this one. Often times, the best venues are in places you wouldn’t expect. Ask around and get tips from others who’ve planned office parties in the past.
5. Determine Rental Options
Does the venue you’ve selected offer options for chairs, tables, table cloths, etc.? If not, you’ll want to plan to rent them. If the venue does provide the essentials, it’s still worth your time to look into extra rentals like chocolate fountains and photo booths!
6. Define the Theme
Is it casual? Formal? Will you be inviting children to attend? Set a theme for your event to streamline the planning process. This will help you relay info on what to wear, who to bring, and what to expect when your employees ask.
7. Find Awesome Food Options
Food can be tricky. It’s important that you provide options to accommodate varying tastes and diets. Get a feel for what the office would prefer, and try to order and/or prepare options to fit the general preference. Consider allergies and dietary restrictions as well. It will be impossible to please everyone, but enough options should be good enough for the majority of the office.
8. Plan Activities Without Over Planning
No one likes an over planned party. They’re awkward and boring. Rather than overwhelm your guests with a full list of “fun” and festive activities, plan a few things here and there, but keep it light and allow everyone to mingle.
9. Consider a Raffle
One activity your guests are sure to love is a raffle. No one will turn down the opportunity to win some free stuff! If it’s in the budget, offer fun prizes that fit your employee’s interests. Example? Tech company employees might enjoy tech products and accessories while a hair salon staff would better appreciate beauty products and related gift cards.
10. Arrange for Any Technical Elements
Should you decide to run a movie, slideshow, music, etc. remember to check the electronics you’ll be relying on beforehand. Run through the show a few times to make sure there aren’t any system glitches and/or missing cords you’ll need to remedy.
11. Rehearse any Speeches
Speeches can be tough. Some choose to wing it, but it’s probably best to at least prepare an outline beforehand. If you’re planning to have a speech or two at your event, ask that they come up with an outline prior to the event. This will help speakers avoid awkward pauses and rambling.
12. Get Approval Ahead of Time
Final approval is a must. All of this planning and prep work could go to waste the day of the event if you wait until the last minute to get approval and the approval isn’t granted. Check with your superiors in advance to make sure everything is good to go. This way, you’ll avoid wasting time and money on something your company isn’t willing to give the thumbs up to move forward with.