Planning an office party can sometimes feel like a military operation. Some parties may be in the office while others may be in a different venue altogether. There are no hard and fast rules for planning a party, all that is important is that the guests have a great time and feel comfortable enough to talk with each other about non-work-related topics. Here are some pointers to help ease the passing of your party.
Know your brief
Remember that the boss is still the boss; even if you have been largely left to your own devices. It is important to stick to your budget and not get too carried away. If you have some great ideas that the budget won’t quite cover, by all means go and ask for more money. Also, if you have an idea for a theme that doesn’t quite gel with your brief, get clarification. A lot of companies combine their Christmas party with an end-of-year summary, sometimes going so far as to give out awards or deliver speeches. If your superiors want a certain feel or theme, and you go off on a tangent, you can kiss goodbye to those hard-earned brownie points from organising.
Start your event during working hours
While there are plenty of reasons to have a party outside of working hours (for example, if it is for your entire sales team), generally you will have a higher attendance if the day it is on is already a working day. Nobody wants to go to work on their day off, and it will be greatly appreciated that they did not have to sacrifice a weekend to hang out with their colleagues. You value your teams’ time in work (that is called ‘pay’), valuing their time outside of work too is good for making them feel appreciated. Starting the office party during company time is the best way to convey this.
Get the invites out early
Invites or instructions (depending on leadership style) are much more likely to be taken up if issued early. Telling everyone to clear their plans on a given night next week for an office party is not going to wash. Like ANY event, the earlier you can issue firm timings, the better. This decreases the likelihood of your team double booking themselves and being unable to attend.
Make sure that everyone is aware what sort of party is. Is it only for employees? Are plus-ones welcome? Does it start as one then turn into the other; for example starting in the office before moving to a restaurant? You don’t want people telling their spouses that they can’t come only for other people’s spouses to turn up when the party moves to a public venue.
This may sound obvious, but factoring this in could help save you precious time on the day of the event. If your colleagues are builders coming straight off a job, then going to a venue where there is a dress code will require extra time to wash and change. Equally, if your colleagues are normally suited and booted, sending them straight to an activity where they may get wet and muddy will do you no favours either. If your event is straight after work, consider whether they will need to get changed. If they will, then either organise appropriate facilities or consider a different activity.
Organising an event can be costly, you don’t want to go to the effort of booking a venue, or buying in supplies, only to find out that people can’t come. If you send out an RSVP with your invitation you will get a much better idea of the exact number of people to expect. People are also more likely to attend if you ask them to commit to coming.
Yes we are all grown-ups, yes we all have electronic diaries at work now. However, we’re all also human and mistakes get made. Sending out regular reminders will help keep your event at the forefront of your colleague’s minds. This is more of a ‘better to be safe than sorry’ tip, and is certainly more necessary in some organisations than others, but sending out a reminder email takes a minute and it makes sure that everyone is on the same page. As more elements of the event are confirmed, these reminders are an ideal opportunity to update your colleagues on how the party is shaping up.
So, there are your top tips for planning your office party. I’m sure I’ll have another list for you to read before long. Happy planning! However, if your budget allows, do get in touch. 0203 905 1750 firstname.lastname@example.org.