As the end of the calendar year rolls around, employee focuses shift toward family time, large dinners and plenty of gift giving. Whether it snows where you are or stays sunny year round, the holiday season means one thing for most event planners: holiday parties.
Oh, how those holiday parties are a blessing and a curse; tales from such last for years, you remember the one about the time your boss had a little too much eggnog? How about the time when someone FORGOT eggnog? Or even last year, when, overcome with holiday spirit, employees seemed to pass on the office cheer for the chance to get home — or get away from work — a little earlier?
Fear not, office holiday party planners! With a little ingenuity, you can make slight tweaks to your holiday shindig that make it a little easier on you and a lot more fun for everyone.
Plan Midweek, not Thursday or Friday, Early Afternoon
Many event planners schedule holiday parties at 3pm or later at the end of the week in hope everyone will be done working and can head out for Happy Hour soon afterward. While this seems like a great idea, what it does is take people away from productive holiday hours and often encourages overconsumption from the non-stop partying. Try a Tuesday or Wednesday shindig, just before or after lunch (potlucks during lunch work great, too) to keep off-task activities to a minimum.
Go Offsite, After Work Hours
Sometimes it’s just easier to have someone else handle the setup, serving and clean-up for large groups of people. And, while we’re careful not to be holiday grinches when saying this, moving your office party off site could also help with liability issues should someone over imbibe. We recommend paying for the buffet table, and allowing your guests to buy drinks (if it’s after work hours, and it should be because who wants to go back to the office after a good party?) on their own. Most local restaurants offer generous deals if you order buffet-style food.
Forgo Holiday Parties, Give Gift Cards Instead
Maybe much of your workforce works remotely, maybe they’re too hard to wrangle or perhaps some departments just can’t swing an afternoon party; instead of having an event with only a fraction of employee attendance, why not give gift cards? While it doesn’t have to be enough to justify as a holiday bonus, every little bit helps around the holiday season.
Happy holiday party planning, and don’t forget those sweaters!