How to Throw a Fun-Filled Office Party
Throwing an office party is a great way to help your employees have some fun, engage, and increase company morale. But an office party is no ordinary shindig, things can get complicated when coworkers, alcohol, and higher-ups are involved. In addition to taking precautions, you also want to be able to throw an office party your colleagues will look forward to, and not feel like it is another work obligation. Luckily, we're breaking down a few tried and true tips that will aid you in throwing a fun-filled office party your employees will appreciate.
Don’t Make it Mandatory
While we would love it if every person attended, having your office party be a forced activity can deter from your employees enjoying themselves. Focus on keeping attendance optional, but include perks that will make your employees want to attend. Whether those perks include an early start time, games & prizes, or entertainment - make it clear that you give that they will be missing out if they decide against it. You really only want those who are eager to be part of the fun.
Avoid Religious or Cultural Exclusion
When looking for a good excuse to throw an office party, holidays can seem like an obvious choice. While we encourage celebrating the diversity of our offices, we want to make sure we host parties that include everyone. Look for celebration themes that are accepted by everyone and focused around company successes or celebrations, such as a toast to a new season or a “job well done” bash - those can happen at the end of a quarter, or anytime that makes sense for your team.
Pick an Inviting Venue (Or Consider Virtual)
We are living in unprecedented times right now, so there is, even more, to consider when throwing an in-person office party in terms of safety. Be sure to choose a venue that has lots of space to keep guests comfortable and socially distanced, following your state’s guidelines for gatherings. If meeting in person isn’t an option for your office, you can still host an office party - just consider doing it virtually. While you may not be together in person, you’ll still be able to host games and contribute to employee engagement.
Who says you have to serve alcohol at your party? If liability is a concern, or you have workers who will struggle with a boozy environment, find alternative beverages to serve. You can get creative with custom non-alcoholic cocktails, hire a barista for caffeinated drinks, or choose a smoothie or juice bar as a healthy alternative.
If you do decide to imbibe, it’s a good practice to hire a professional bartender and consider using drink tickets. This will help limit drinks and makes it less awkward when it comes to “cutting off” heavy drinkers. It’s never acceptable to put an employee in the position of having to serve and judge the sobriety of their co-workers - so by hiring a professional you’ll save yourself some headaches!.
Focus on Food
While it might cost a bit more to have a full-service meal, it's well worth the investment to keep your guests happy. (And it will prevent people from trying to fill up with drinks.) Everyone loves a free meal, so do your best to pick a selection of eats for all dietary needs - make sure you have some vegetarian options, and if there are any known allergies in the office be sure to avoid those foods, and communicate early that there will be lots to go around.
Have An Activity Or Entertainment
Be sure to have an activity or something going on during your office party. It will give everyone something fun to focus on, and not fall back on work talk.. It will also be a nice touch and help make your party memorable. You want your employees to focus on having fun with each other, and a little healthy competition with games and prizes never hurts!
Lay Down the Law
Not to be a party pooper, but it's important that people know the rules about parties – even when hosted by the office. While it's not necessary to make everyone go through sexual harassment training or even call out the proper behavior on the day of the event, it's smart to include how people are expected to act somewhere in the employee handbook and onboarding materials for new employees. Let everyone who starts with the company know that there are standards for work-related events and that they still represent the business at the party. By addressing it upfront well before the event, you've let them know what is expected without putting an awkward cast over the party.
By taking the above into consideration, you’ll be sure to have a safe and fun environment for your employees to let loose.
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Author: Rachel Mazzola