Ah, the dreaded company party.After all, most parties they’ve attended in the past were probably awkward, stressful or just plain boring.
Prove to your team that office parties can be fun by organizing an event they’ll actually want to attend. Here’s how to do just that:
1. Pick a Fun Theme
Choosing a theme isn’t always necessary, but if you want to tie in your employees’ collective love of Tiger King or create a beachy vibe, having a concept certainly adds to the fun. Ask your team for party theme suggestions and pick the one you think most people would enjoy. Then, get creative with attire, costumes, props, decorations, games, cocktails and food to match.
2. Form a Planning Committee
Another great way to get input from employees is to organize a party planning committee. Ask to see if anyone has any interest in managing the committee and hand the reins to them. Doing this will lighten your responsibilities and allow your employees to work together to figure out the logistics on a micro-level. Their excitement in planning the party will also likely hype up their co-workers and result in better event attendance.
3. Make Attendance Optional
Nobody wants to go to an event you’re forcing them to attend. Besides, not all of your employees view office parties or work events as fun. Some will think of every excuse in the book to avoid going. Forcing these team members to attend will only ruin the atmosphere for others. Instead, make attendance optional and rely on your theme and planning committee to convince people to come and participate in the fun.
4. Allow Plus-Ones
If numerous employees request to bring their relatives or significant others, considering saying yes. Often, these team members will feel more comfortable attending the event if they can bring someone they know and love. Plus, they might see it as a great opportunity to connect with co-workers in a new way. Moreover, it’ll allow you to meet the most important people in your employees’ lives and brag on your team members’ hard work.
5. Cover the Costs
Whether you’re planning to allow family members to attend or not, consider covering the event’s cost so your employees don’t have to shell out hard-earned cash to attend. That includes paying for food, entertainment, admission and maybe even a drink or two. However, you may be able to get away with making your workers pay for extra beverages or alcohol to discourage overconsumption. Additionally, if you are serving spirits, you might even provide free transportation afterward.
6. Host During Work Hours
To ensure most employees will be able to attend the event, host it during work hours. This way, they won’t have an excuse for not showing up. This method is also more enjoyable for many who find themselves tired after a full day or week of work. Plus, they won’t feel guilty skipping out on family time to attend an after-work event in the evening or on a weekend.
7. Book a Venue
While you can certainly use your office building space to host the event, booking a venue might liven things up and create an elegant or festive ambiance you simply can’t accomplish with decorating an office. Look into hosting at a country club or banquet hall and begin your search well in advance. Many book months in advance — especially during holiday and summer seasons — so deciding on one early is smart if you want to host an event with a little more class.
8. Serve Good Food
Food is one of the most important parts of your event and will probably be the deciding factor in whether employees will show up. Show your appreciation for your team and their hard work by going all out and hiring a catering team or ordering quality food. Be sure to accommodate those with allergies or dietary restrictions, including those practicing a vegetarian or vegan diet. Doing so will ensure everyone has something to eat.
9. Provide Entertainment
The location and food aren’t the only major components of hosting a stellar work event. Some may consider entertainment to be just as important, especially considering there are only so many things employees can talk about before discussing work again. To mix up the evening and provide conversation breaks, consider hiring a magician, comedian or another form of professional entertainment. You might even make the entire event entertaining by theming it as a murder-mystery or dinner theater.
10. Plan Games
Harness the power of competition and encourage team bonding by organizing a few games. Bring larger groups of colleagues together with office trivia or an escape room-esque game. Simpler, less intense challenges and party games like catchphrase or jigsaw puzzle races are also fun options. Choose two or three to keep people laughing and engaged throughout the entire event. Just be sure to make participation optional. Some employees might not enjoy the pressure of races or competitive games.
11. Reward Prizes
Of course, great party games call for awesome prizes. Reward the winners with useful gear sporting your company logo, cash prizes, gift baskets or maybe an extended lunch break for that week. You might also host a raffle or send all attendees home with a gift to thank them for taking time out of their busy schedules to show up and participate. Giving away freebies like this will make your event much more enjoyable and incentivize employees to attend future celebrations.
12. Avoid Bringing Up Work
Above all, don’t mention work! Remember, this should be a fun event for both you and your employees. No one should have to worry about deadlines, voicemails or responding to emails while they’re trying to enjoy dinner and games. Let your team relax and save the work chit chat for tomorrow. It can wait.
Once you and your committee have worked out the details, all you have left to do is attend the party and have fun! Get to know your employees and actively participate in competitions, games and lively conversation. If your team sees you enjoying yourself, odds are they’ll be able to relax and have some fun, too.