Out of the Office: 5 Steps to Planning the Perfect Company Holiday Party
Are you tasked with planning the company holiday party this year? It can be a big job, but it can also be a rewarding job when you see how you’ve been able to bring together employees, management and families.
If this is your first time planning a big company event, here’s a handy guide to getting it right and keeping it low stress.
Pick a Theme
Rather than start by choosing a date or a party venue, start your project by deciding what type of party you want to throw. This will, in turn, inform the rest of your planning, including where and when you set things. Will it be a family affair with lots of kids? Try a sports theme or a mini-carnival depending on the size of the facility. Will there be more adults than little ones? You could opt for an international food fair, casino party or Mardi Gras theme.
Once you know what type of party you’ll be hosting, it’s time to look for a few appropriate venues. Try to do this as early as possible, since many large or inexpensive venues fill up well in advance—especially during the summer or around the holiday season. If the party budget is limited, you could opt for a spot on the company property. Want to spice it up? Look for more surprising venues, like a Senior Frog’s Time Square, a local rooftop beer garden, or a dinner cruise.
When considering venues, be sure you keep in mind the mundane needs of your guests. This means things like plenty of clean bathrooms, protection from the elements, sufficient seating, close parking and electricity or water connections.
Pick a Date
Narrow your venue search to a few good options that will work with your theme, then start looking at dates. You may be able to save money or find more availability if you choose a midweek date rather than a popular weekend. If the guests will mostly be employees, you could consider planning the event on a weekday and giving everyone a little time off together. It’s good for morale and a way to bring people from all departments together—and fewer people will say no.
Hire Professional Planners
Now that the basic skeleton of your party is in place, it’s a good idea to bring in pros to help plan it. Working with a professional party planning service will help reduce your stress while creating a better result. Planners can often find ways to fulfill your party needs for less money or effort since they have relationships with neighborhood vendors and dealers.
Look for a local planner with experience in parties the size you will be hosting. Then, maintain good communication throughout the planning process to ensure that you’re both on the same page about what you’re looking for. Be willing to listen to your party planner and use his or her experience to your advantage.
Company parties often have a reputation as boring events, but you can make yours memorable and lively by including some unexpected additions. An entertainer—like a juggler, dancers, a band, balloon artists, gymnasts or face painters—can perk up both kids and their parents. Or, why not design custom food stations to mimic your favorite local purveyors of doughnuts, coffee or sandwiches? Surprise everyone with a mechanical bull in an inflatable pit or a surfing simulator.
Work with your professional planner to find the right focal point surprise that would work best with your theme and guest list.
Following these basic steps will help ensure that you end up with a day that everyone, from managers to employees’ children, will remember fondly for years to come.