Ten Hacks to Plan the Best Office Holiday Party Ever

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Even tech geeks love an office holiday party, so here’s how to plan the best end-of-year celebration that your staff will never forget!

Every year someone gets lumped with the responsibility of planning the office holiday party. It’s not the worst job in the world. However, it’s worth knowing that over 50 percent of employees report dreading the office holiday party.

That’s all the more reason why you need to make sure this year’s office party is memorable for all the right reasons. But there’s so much to think about to organize and plan. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you out!

By following our 10 hacks for planning the best office party ever you can provide your colleagues with an end-of-year celebration like never before.

  1. Start the Plan

You’re probably already thinking – “There’s so much to consider!”.

You need to break it down into bite-sized chunks. This way you can think carefully about everything. You can check out our list of things to consider before you add any other things to your own list.

  • The Venue (e.g. the office or a local restaurant)
  • The Theme of the Party (e.g. Christmas-y)
  • Time (e.g. evenings or lunchtime)
  • Date
  • Number of guests (e.g. can people bring plus-ones?)
  • Food and drink
  • The agenda of the event

You may not want to arrange everything at the same time. You need to be able to adapt to changes. However, the earlier you start thinking about the event, the more prepared you’ll be for any eventuality.

Of course, you won’t be able to make the decisions about all of the above. Some things may be decided as part of the organizing committee, whereas other decisions need to be made by executives.

  1. When the Party Is Happening

Now it’s time to select a date and time for the party. You need to decide whether the office party is only during the lunch hour or a bigger celebration in the evening.

Nowadays, around 40 percent of office parties happen at lunchtime, while 60 percent occur during the evening.

If you want to know how to throw an all-inclusive office party, you probably want to hold the event at lunchtime. This way you can include many more people who have busy private lives.

However, on the other hand, you would need to have someone taking care of the phones. Someone’s always going to miss out.

  1. Choosing a Venue

If you choose an evening event, you could have the event at a different venue, such as a restaurant or a hotel. However, this will probably significantly increase your costs.

However, avoid the expensive weekend, and choose a Monday evening, and you’ll get the most people attending while keeping the bill affordable. You can also support a local business by holding your event at their venue.

  1. Consider Off-Season

If you really want to make savings, you could consider holding the event slightly earlier or later to avoid the premium costs.

Nowadays, an increasing number of companies choose not to celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving at all. Instead, they simply hold an inclusive party to demonstrate how much they appreciate the hard work of the employees. You could even choose to celebrate an anniversary instead.

This also allows you to hold the party at any other time of the year. Have you considered a rainy weekday in October or a late January afternoon?

  1. Put a Team Together

Although you’ve been tasked with the responsibility of organizing and planning the party, you don’t have to do everything yourself.

Put together a team of volunteers who want to pull together to help you throw an amazing party for everyone. Make sure you take advantage of the skills and connections among your colleagues.

If Jeff is charming and persuasive, send him off to convince the restaurant to give you a special discount. Maybe Maria knows a lot of people in the music business, can she get you a top-notch DJ for half the price? View here to book your entertainment for the party.

  1. Think About the Menu

Food is one of the most important ingredients of throwing a great office holiday party. But remember, it’s easy to go over-budget when it comes to the menu.

Do you want to go with plated set-meals or buffets? The advantage of a plated meal is that it’s cost-effective and elegant, however, it’s not as much fun.

You also need to make sure you cater for everyone who’s going to be there. For example, how many vegans/vegetarians are attending? Does anyone have any allergies you need to know about?

  1. How Much Are You Going to Drink?

If you decide to have the office holiday party out-of-work hours, you’re probably going to allow guests to drink alcohol.

However, you may be surprised to discover that nearly a quarter of all office holiday parties don’t include any alcohol consumption. If you want to pay for all the employees, this is an excellent way of saving money.

Instead, you may decide to place a limit on how many free drinks guests can have. If not, there’s always one colleague who will take advantage of the open bar at the party.

  1. Remind People how to Behave

Nobody wants to be the colleague who has to lay down the ground rules for how to behave at the party. But unfortunately, someone has to do it. As the organizer, it’s probably your responsibility.

You need to send an email with any information about when and where your colleagues need to go. But a friendly warning not to over-drink and how to dress appropriately won’t go amiss.

  1. What About a Gift Exchange?

If you’re feeling generous, you may include gift exchange in the budget for the event. However, if you’re a larger company, this could lead you with a heavy bill.

You could also suggest a “Secret Santa” or “White Elephant” gift exchange. This allows employees to exchange gifts without leaving you with to foot the bill.

So that the gift exchange runs smoothly, you may want to impose a spending limit on gifts. For example, consider a limit of $10 to keep things simple.

  1. Fund Raising for the Event?

If you’re worried about how you can pay for the event, you can also start a fundraising campaign to generate the funds.

You have to consider whether it’s appropriate for your organization. If you’re a bank or tech company, you may conclude you can’t justify requesting donations for your party.

However, you can always ask employees for donations. This doesn’t need to be money, you could do a bake sale, for example.

Planning Your Office Holiday Party

Now you know how to throw an office holiday party that rocks. By following our 10 hacks for planning your annual party, you can make sure your party rules while also keeping down the budget.

If you would like to read more on office stuff, here is a blog post settling the open office vs traditional office space argument.