11 Tips for Planning an Office Holiday Party
A business holiday party is a highly anticipated event for employees and owners. You are investing in the event, so you want it to be memorable. A holiday party can have a positive impact on your employees, building rapport and cooperation, and help with employee retention. If you are planning an office holiday party, you can make it more successful with these tips:
Nail Down the Details Early
You need to ensure you gather the details very early in the year, including your overall budget, reserving the venue, planning the menu, and the first “head count.” You should reserve the venue about four to six months before the date of your office party.
Lunch or Dinner?
Surprisingly, many employees prefer a lunch holiday party. With so many events occurring during the season, a dinner event can get in the way of other events they want to attend. Survey your employees to find out what they prefer, rather than assuming you know.
Create a Team
If you have been tasked with planning an office party, depending on the number of people who will attend, you need help. Get help from others to decorate, plan the menu, or other responsibilities so it doesn’t all land on your plate.
Choose a Theme
While the holidays are already a theme, you can make your party more fun by creating a specific holiday theme. Themes such as holiday masquerade, drink-themed parties, hat parties, or virtually any unique theme that suits your company culture can make the party more fun.
Prizes, Awards, and Presentations
Keep speeches to a minimum! People want to party, not listen to long speeches, but acknowledgments for excellent work are always appreciated. Give out prizes and awards and consider door prizes for added fun. Make sure your prizes are valuable (such as certificates to spas, restaurants, shows, etc.).
Final Head Count
Not everyone will be able to attend the party, so ensure you have an accurate head count if you are planning to provide a formal dinner. Your venue will require you to provide a final head count at a specific date, so make sure you have the data in time. Send emails, invites, etc., and nudge those who haven’t replied. Always have a few extra meals for late responders.
The Right Drinks Matter
Ensure you have a variety of holiday-themed non-alcoholic drinks on your menu for those who do want to drink alcoholic beverages.
Music Makes it Work
The right music can make or break a holiday party. A live band, DJ, or playlist should be carefully chosen to keep the mood upbeat. Consider the average age of your employees when creating a playlist.
For formal sit-down dinners, create a seating plan with name tags. When people arrive, direct them to numbered tables to avoid confusion.
Expect the Unexpected
With any party, you can expect a glitch. Stay calm and realize a few bumps in the road are part of the experience – don’t stress out.
If you believe your employees are likely to over-imbibe, schedule a party bus from the office, or offer driver services so everyone can enjoy the event.
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