Office parties are an oxymoron for some. They’d rather be stranded on a grounded airplane. Others like spending time with co-workers. They believe that office parties: 1. validate staff, 2. improve morale, and 3. build trust.
If party planning is thorough, even those who resist might enjoy attending. I was recently contacted by a company that wanted to host a party for 100 employees and their significant others. The party “had to be fun.” The company’s party committee was considering bowling, a murder mystery dinner, or a scavenger hunt. They wanted to host an interactive, inclusive event. Staff would have opportunities to get to know colleagues from different departments.
Like this company, many businesses are currently in the process of planning Holiday Parties for December or post Holidays in January. To simplify this year’s Holiday Party decision making, here are further company party suggestions and a few basic steps to party success.
- Museum Event
- Karaoke Party
- Piano Sing-a-long
- Indoor “Field Day” Picnic
- Theme Party (Circus, 80’s, Medieval, Casino, Luau)
- Yankee Swap and Lunch
- After Hour Cocktails
- Cookie Swap
- Talent Show
- Volunteer for Local Nonprofit and Meal
- Toy Drive and Meal
- Cooking Class and Meal
Workplace culture varies. Decide on a mutually satisfying event. Establish the party budget and date. Invite colleague planning input and involvement. The rest is easy. Depending on the party, here are a few basic planning steps.
- Establish party goals, design, and leadership.
- Draft a planning timeline and a party timeline.
- Reserve a well located, interesting venue (including parking and transportation).
- Arrange for catering.
- Hire Entertainment (live music, DJ, magician, comedy improve troupe, dance instructor, circus performers, etc.)
- Determine “elements of awesome,” such as unusual venue, food, design, or entertainment that will be especially exciting to guests.
- Arrange for necessary rentals (technical equipment, lighting, furniture, linens, tableware, etc.).
- Decide on decorations.
- Invite with a creative invitation (introduction to the look and feel of the event) and keep track of RSVPs.
- Hire professionals or reliable volunteers to be in charge during the event.
- Acquire any necessary permits and licenses (such as alcohol).
- Hire security if necessary.
- Plan and rehearse any brief presentations.
- Follow up with a survey.
- Convene the party planning committee for a post party critique & celebration.
Those who plan the party generate good ideas and build excitement. Like arranging a trip, party organization is enlightening. Party preparation requires an understanding of the invited guests, company culture, and how the company wants to be perceived into the future. Events that bring employees together give management an opportunity to thank staff and celebrate the company’s accomplishments. Sentiments, such as appreciation and celebration, can be echoed in elements of the event (communication leading up to and at the event, design, and features). A party endorses a company’s values and honors traditions.
With thorough planning and a little luck, the party will “take -off.” Hopefully, guests won’t feel like they’re stranded in an airplane. Ideally, the party will be a great success and propel the company community to new heights. Bon Voyage!
Life is short. Celebrate!