Your office holiday party is almost upon you. As the party planner, perhaps you’ve planned it for months, or maybe you’re scrambling to put something together at the last minute.
In either case, there’s a good chance you’ve overlooked some potential problems.
Whether you’re looking for ways to make your holiday party run smoothly, or ideas to help you plan a great event at the last minute, these 7 tips will help you throw a party your colleagues will be talking about all year long!
1. Plan activities – and plan them well.
Believe it or not, your coworkers may not be super enthusiastic about an evening with the boss, especially with loads of holiday stress on their docket. For a great holiday party, be sure to sweeten the deal. Secret Santa giveaways, karaoke, or even throwing your party at a bar with tons of video arcade games (with plenty of free tokens thrown in) can turn a sleeper into a shindig. These activities are all a snap to set up as well.
Before you make any plans, know what your employees want – or find someone who does. If you have the time, letting your co-workers choose from a variety of activity options beforehand can save you a lot of awkward moments and rolled eyes during the big event.
2. An on-site holiday party is an easy (and less expensive) option.
If you’re truly stuck for a party option and it’s proving impossible to find an open date or venue, plan an afternoon party in an unused conference room in your office. You know everyone will be there, you’ll save a bundle on meals and drinks, and you can avoid all of the hassles that an after-hours party can bring.
3. Supply your own music.
Why pay a band or a DJ? If you want to cut down on entertainment expenses, providing your own sound system is a great way to supply the tunes. For the price of an entertainer for one night, you can easily find a sound system to rock your party – and many parties to come!
4. If you serve alcohol, know the rules.
If you decide to serve alcohol, be aware of insurance requirements and the laws of your state. In most states, the venue serving drinks could be liable if a driver is served one too many before hitting the road. And if you’re the one providing the drinks, the company could be liable too.
5. Provide transportation and/or designated drivers.
Don’t put your colleagues at risk. Providing a way for them to get home – or making sure someone is available to drive them – is not only the safe option; it’s the right thing to do.
6. Professional standards aren’t just for the office anymore.
The office party should be an opportunity for everyone to relax, mingle and enjoy the festivities. However, your holiday party does not give license for inappropriate behavior! Whereas a wild holiday party may provide plenty of grist for the company’s rumor mill, it can also lead to resentment – and legal liability – if a few bad apples run amok.
Reiterate to your employees that dress codes, sexual harassment policies and professional standards of behavior apply both in and outside the office, whenever coworkers gather.
7. Holiday parties don’t have to take place on the holidays.
Chances are, if you’ve waited this long to plan your office’s holiday party, you’re not only finding it hard to steer around your colleagues’ existing plans – you’re also having a tough time finding places to have it. Why not wait? Planning a holiday party in January could provide cheaper rental rates, more flexible scheduling and a wider range of venue options.
Have you had your holiday party, or is it coming up? Tell us some of your party planning stories in the comments!