A well-planned office event can be the highlight of an employee’s year. They may meet deadlines, accomplish major tasks and help others out, but there’s something special about relaxing and having a good time with the people you see every day.
The challenge arises when you’re put in charge of an event. What kind of party should you throw? And what will it include? There are many decisions to make on the path to a successful soiree, but don’t feel overwhelmed.
Read these six tips for planning your next workplace event. You’ll quickly figure out exactly what kind of fall party you want to throw and how it will come together. It won’t feel like a chore, and you’ll discover just how easy it is to have a great time before the party even starts.
1. Plan Everything Early
The earlier you start planning your event, the easier everything will be. Start by listing your objectives first. What do you want your party to be about? The goal might be to have a good time, to celebrate a fall holiday or to cheer on someone who got a major promotion.
Write a list of your party’s goals and objectives before moving on to the date. Workplace events typically happen during the week, so personal weekend plans aren’t interrupted. They should also occur after hours. That helps people avoid watching the clock to see when they should go back to their desks and minimizes the work talk that goes on.
Once you have your date, time and theme of your event, send out the invites as soon as you can. If people have more time to schedule the party, they’re more likely to say yes to the invitation. Providing time to your invitees is also important if your event has a theme – such as a costume party. Your invitees need time to find costumes – such as dressing up as a superhero you may need to sift through a huge variety of Iron Man costumes.
2. Think About Fall Themes
Every event needs some kind of theme, so why not develop one that’s related to fall? There are plenty of activities to choose from besides Halloween if you don’t think your office would be up for costumes.
Check out fall themes like:
- Employee potluck tailgate
- Halloween cubicle decorating contest
- Caramel apple creation station
- Ugly fall sweater contest
- Pumpkin carving competition
- Some themes will be more food-oriented and some will be more action-oriented, so decide which is best based on who works in your office and what you think they’ll participate in.
3. Choose the Menu
You’ll have to come up with a menu that includes enough variety for every employee. A good way to get started with this is to send out an email and ask for anyone with food allergies or concerns to let you know what they are. It’s important to know if someone is lactose intolerant or has an allergy to nuts. You don’t need to worry about the people who would prefer one thing over another, unless the majority of people agree with them.
That said, you should still make a point to pair your food with your beverages if possible. Depending on the budget and type of event you choose to throw, you might want to stock up on gin for shrimp, or red wine for other seafood pairings. A selection of beer is also good whether you’re having something more upscale or simple appetizers.
4. Create an Activity
Another thing that will encourage people to come to your party is an activity. Come up with a competition or craft that goes well with the theme.
Have everyone make a poster of what they’re thankful for if you’re hosting a Thanksgiving party, or paint pumpkins to display on their desks. You’ll engage the competitive drive in some people and the love of crafts in others.
5. Budget for Decorations
Most people who plan office events don’t get a budget handed to them by their company. You may have to pay for your own party supplies, which means you’ll need to make a budget for things like decorations, decor and posters.
As early as you can, create an event budget to cover all your needs. Work with the money you have to narrow down your options. Keep a little bit of the fun stuff you dreamed about and then focus on the necessities that will make your event a hit.
6. Invent a Prize
Any good event that features a competition will have a prize for the winner and the runners-up. Come up with a contest if your party doesn’t have one, and then come up with awards your co-workers would enjoy.
A few incentives could be things like a restaurant gift card for their family, a trophy or a donation to their charity of choice.
The winners can get a few incentives, like a restaurant gift card for their family or a donation to their charity of choice. Customized trophies and other personalized prizes can also put a unique twist to rewards and incentives.
Get Inspired by Past Events
If you’re still unsure how to plan your office event, get inspired by what people have done in the past. Think about what you and your co-workers liked and disliked about certain parties and learn from that experience. Your workplace fete is bound to be a success with a little thought and planning.
Dylan Bartlett, aka, “The Regular Guide,” writes about a broad variety of topics on his blog. Check out Just a Regular Guide for more, or follow him on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates!