As cringe as some office parties can be, they fantastic in their own way and a great way to celebrate all the hard work that people put in! If your job is transitioning back to the workplace, there’s never been a better time to plan that office get-together (in a COVID-19 safe way, of course).
Office parties are a perfect way to boost staff morale, and they promote a feeling of comradery among colleagues. It’s the opportunity for everyone in the office to let their hair down and socialise without work being the focus. After so many months away from your office buddies, you’ll no doubt be looking forward to the upcoming office party on your calendar!
However, if you’ve got the job of organising it, you may feel a little overwhelmed and stressed at the thought of pulling it off. Let’s face it, no one wants to be the one who threw a bad or mediocre office party.
With so much to organise from the venue to the date, from the entertainment to whether or not to have an office catering company look after the food, and of course, ensuring appropriate social distancing is adhered to, it’s easy for things to snowball and to start feeling stressful. And this is even more the case if you have a limited budget to work with.
Keep reading for the essential tips to putting on the perfect office party – guaranteed
#1 – Lock the Date in ASAP
Syncing up everyone’s schedules can be challenging, so the sooner you decide on a date, the better. Send out several date options and select the one which suits the majority, remembering it would be a miracle if one date suited all. This can be a trying process but hang in there. Once set, send out a “save the date” to lock it into everyone’s calendar.
#2 – Ask for Input from Others
A good office party is only great if it is organised by a great planning group. It’s a good idea to involve your colleagues in the organisation of the party as they will feel more invested, and chances are, the night will be more of a success as a result.
Assign your colleagues to tasks that they do well or have knowledge of. For example, get the socialite to organise the guest list, your creative to create a fantastic invitation, and get the office foodies to organise the menu and drinks. The artistic co-worker can be in charge of decorating the event.
And as far as covering off on COVID-19 goes, it would also be wise to appoint a specific COVID Marshall or supervisor for the event’s planning and duration. This person can be responsible for ensuring that everything from cleanliness to social distancing is adhered to.
You can also easily create a simple survey on Google Forms to get ideas from people or let them indicate their preferences. Either way, ensure your office party is something to remember by choosing the right people to work on the planning committee.
#3 – The Party Theme/Style
One of the most essential ingredients of a great party is the THEME. Sadly, many organisers overlook this point yet it’s one of the most vital ingredients of a successful party. A theme will set the tone of the event, and that in turn, drives all the planning decisions and creates the proper atmosphere.
Do you want a formal or a casual event? Will it be during work hours or an after-work celebration? Will you invite plus ones or family, or keep it at staff members event only? Will you have a stand-up cocktail style function or a casual sit-down buffet meal or a full-on formal sit down served dinner? Will it be a costume or themed party? Are people interested in having some sort of activity-based party like a murder mystery party? When you have answered these types of questions the rest of the decisions will come more easily.
#4 – Select the Venue
If you are throwing the party in your office, then you have already got your venue sorted. However, if you can, it’s not a bad idea to go off-site given that staying in the office won’t give people a change of scenery. This makes it harder to switch off from the “work” mindset and have fun.
If you’re going off-site, make sure the location is convenient to everyone or you’ll run the risk of many people not attending. Also, consider the public transport options if you are not organising transport to and from the venue.
If you are throwing your party off-premises or out of office, you need to choose a venue that can accommodate your numbers and the style of event you are looking to put on. Also, make sure there is enough space to put lots of decorations such as balloons to brighten up the venue.
#5 – Food & Drinks
It goes without saying that the food and beverages need to be right. Ensuring there are ample beverages available with a great mix of both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks is essential.
If you are hosting the party in the office, consider letting caterers look after the menu and drinks. Most caterers will offer a corporate catering menu and can tailor everything to suit your specific requirements and party themes. They will also cater to any dietary requirements and can provide wait staff and bartenders, to keep things running smoothly.
#6 – Entertainment
There’s nothing worse than a party with no atmosphere and a good party will have some entertainment to encourage people to engage with each other. Music is the simplest way to create a lively atmosphere and provide fun entertainment. Whether you choose musical performers from a live band, a DJ, or just pop on a playlist, music is critical.
Budget permitting, consider other forms of entertainment like photo booths which are always fun and give people a memento from the night. Other ideas include a surprise raffle, trivia, or a wine tasting segment. You could also consider having a small company awards ceremony to further boost staff morale.
#7 – Plan to Party!
The key to a successful office party is not a big budget or lots of flashy decorations. Instead, the key is thoughtfulness and careful planning. By accounting for elements like theme, food and drink, timing, and activities, you can ensure people have a good time and remember the event for years to come.
Once you have locked in the date, consulted with co-workers, decided on the style of the event, booked a venue, chosen the food and drink selection, ensured the event is COVID-friendly and planned some entertainment – you have organised the party! (Congratulations!) Now it’s time to relax and look forward to the event, which will go off without a hitch thanks to your careful planning. All that is left to do is party on down!