Employees appreciate an office party every once in a while. It's a good way to energize and motivate them after a long, challenging quarter. Of course, you can't run to the store, buy a few party favors and expect everyone to drop what they're doing. You need to plan things out if you want your team to have a good time.
So what does that planning entail? How to you throw your best office party to date? Read on to find out.
1. Send Out a Survey
Your employees want you to listen to them and acknowledge their feelings. You should work in coordination with them as you're planning your office events, listening to their feedback as they dictate the details of the party.
To simplify things, create a survey to ask your team about the type of parties they look forward to. Do they prefer a holiday themed party or something smaller? What would they want to see at a party?
Take inspiration from their responses to figure out your future parties. You can start planning with concrete information instead of intuition.
2. Plan the Date Early
No one likes a last-minute invitation, especially at work. Employees will feel awkward declining your invite if they had prior obligations. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to avoid.
Decide on the date of your party as early as possible. Sending the invite a month ahead of time will give your employees enough warning, but remember — earlier is always better.
This is particularly true of larger parties. Your employees will want to know sooner rather than later, and you'll have more time to hire any caterers or vendors you want to involve.
3. Brainstorm a Theme
You won't always have a holiday to base your party on. Some months are a bit more boring than others. But that shouldn't keep you from throwing an office party, especially if you're feeling creative
When Halloween and Christmas are months away, you can always choose an unconventional theme for your office party. Just think about your team and what they'd like based on their personalities. They may enjoy a Dog Day party where they can bring their furry friends and donate a toy to the local animal shelter.
You could also do something simple like Team Spirit Day. Everyone wears a shirt from the college they went to or a jersey from their favorite sports team.
4. Encourage a Plus One
If the party is after work, you'll want to encourage your employees to bring a guest along. It shouldn't be too complicated if you run a smaller business, but with groups larger than 10 or 15 people, you'll have far more attendees on your hands.
Keep that point in mind when you're choosing the venue, as you don't want to deal with any issues down the road. Otherwise, encouraging a plus one is a smart decision. Your employees will feel a little more inclined to go, generating a bigger crowd and more mingling opportunities.
5. Consider the Drinks
No work party is complete without food and beverages, especially beverages. But what kind of drinks should you get? You'll need to carefully consider what you're including on the menu, beyond the standard selection of sodas. Make sure you have enough variety to satisfy party-goers who don't drink alcohol.
You might also want to prioritize certain drinks over others. Too much hard liquor could end up causing problems. Just serve more beer and wine than liquor, and you should be safe. If you're thinking of ordering a keg, make sure you know how to handle them safely. Engaging in smart lifting techniques will avoid potential accidents when you're moving things around.
Find a line between being the “drink police” and letting people run wild. Your employees shouldn’t need to feel like there’s a babysitter, but you’ll still need to make sure people don’t have too much, and have a plan ready for how to deal with it.
6. Cater High-Quality Food
What kind of food are you going to serve at the party? You have a few options in that regard. A small party might only have finger foods and appetizers, like chips and dip. A dinner party might involve a relaxed buffet or a sit-down restaurant with a menu.
Just be aware of any food allergies. Include it in your party survey so everyone has something to enjoy. Restaurants will also be willing to work with you on allergy-friendly meals.
7. Organize a Game
Once the party has started, where are you planning to take it? Your employees and guests will eventually funnel in, talking among themselves and forming groups — but what happens afterward?
Organizing a game for everyone to play will act as an effective icebreaker. Spouses will also appreciate the game, as they may not know many of the employees and find it difficult to socialize.
8. Thank Everyone
At some point during your event, make sure to thank everyone for coming to the party. Even if everyone has a blast, they're still taking time out of their day to spend unpaid time at a work function. This is the perfect opportunity to reflect on your employees' recent successes and toast to a happy future.
Once you review these eight suggestions, you'll throw the best office party you and your employees could possibly imagine. Happy planning!