December 9, 2016
If the crucial job of planning the office Christmas party has landed on your shoulders this year, never fear! While it can seem like a daunting task (you don’t want to let your colleagues down after all) as long as you stay calm and organised and plan things well in advance, then the party is sure to be a great success.
You may be a dab hand at organising this kind of event, or perhaps this is your first time, and you don’t even know where to start. What is certain, however, is with these handy tips you are sure to plan something special.
We know that planning the office Christmas party might not be your ideal task, particularly if you have plenty of work to get through before the Christmas holidays, but don’t let the pressure of organising it make you even more stressed out. With foresight and organisation, you’ll deliver a festive event to be proud of!
Locking down a date for a Christmas party can be one of the hardest parts of the job. It might be your office shuts down over Christmas and therefore the last working day is naturally the date to pick, however, this might not always be the case. Christmas is a busy time of year and often your colleagues have other commitments already firmly in the diary, so try to get a date set as soon as possible.
The best place to start is by making a list of people who absolutely have to be there. Once you have secured a date or several dates with them, then you can ask the rest of your colleagues which date suits them. In most cases going with a ‘majority rules’ approach is best.
Of course, considering which day to have it on might also play a major role – the end of the week is usually a more popular choice – no one wants to be too, ahem, *tired* after a big party night on a Monday with the rest of the week still to go. Saying that, if your event is likely to be a more low-key affair then earlier in the week is likely to save you money which is always a good thing when working to a budget!
Keep a list of everyone who has agreed to attend and make sure you send out reminder emails as the date approaches. A calendar invite is a good way of making sure that no one forgets or accidentally double books themselves!
Naturally, we could all plan a brilliant office Christmas party were we given an unlimited budget. However even the most generous of organisations is likely to have a set amount they are willing to spend. Find out your budget as early as possible as this will have a significant impact on what you will be able to do. Everything from the venue to the food and drink will be determined by how much you can spend, and will keep your dreams of a Michelin starred supper followed by a private champagne quaffing party at the Ritz in check before they get wildly out of control.
Write down all the essential things you need to make your Christmas party happen. A venue, music and food and drink are the usuals. Once you have these secured, you can think about what to spend any leftover cash on to give it that extra level of pizazz. Just remember to be practical first – add pizazz later.
Keeping some money aside for unexpected situations is always a good idea. That way if you start going horribly over budget, or realise at the last minute you have forgotten something important, you’ll have the funds to cover it.
Every office is different, and only you will know what will encourage your colleagues to have a great time. The theme will depend on the size of your company and what kind of event is right for the mood. If your colleagues are expecting a glitzy ball and a three-course meal and you organise a Christmas jumper competition down at your local pub, they might be less than impressed. Similarly, if they usually just do something fun and casual and you organise a super swanky office party they might not get into the swing of it. Whatever kind of ambience you are going for, be sure to make it feel festive. Whether that’s a Christmas tree and loads of mulled wine and mince pies, or a classy champagne reception tasteful decorations and a quartet singing all your favourite Christmas songs. It’s about time everyone got into the festive spirit so make sure your event has one!
Music will also play an important part in your theme; you may want to book different music for different stages of the evening, for example, a band playing at dinner followed by a DJ to show off your moves on the dance floor later! Make sure you pick music that everyone can enjoy. Just because you are a die-hard, heavy metal fan doesn’t mean that everyone will share your tastes, so try to find music that’s fairly safe or at least a mix of a little of everything.
Other things to consider are whether your event will take place during the day or at night, whether business suppliers should be invited, whether the spouses and partners should be sent an invite too. Making sure you let everyone know if there is a particular dress code well ahead of the day is another important thing to remember. Establishing these things early on will help you understand the size of your event and a cost per head as well.
It’s always a good idea to head down to the venue yourself before you hand over any money. Make sure that it is right for your event, that it will fit everyone comfortably, and that it is not impossibly hard to reach from your usual place of work. People will enjoy your event far more if they can get to it easily and don’t have to travel for hours to return home after the event. Popular or high-end venues tend to get booked up very early so if you plan to host your Christmas party in one of them it is best to get in early.
You can usually negotiate a little over costs too so make sure you try to get the best deal. Some venues will offer catering and music as added extras on top of venue hire, so if you are going for a package deal see if you can bring them down on price.
Most office Christmas parties will involve food and drink of some kind. You might be organising a set meal in which case it is important to remember to check dietary requirements with attendees. If you are putting on a buffet make sure you get the quantities right and provide a good range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options for those who require it. Over ordering is usually better than under ordering. However, you don’t want to be left with enough food to feed a small army at the end of the night so try to judge this carefully.
Regarding drinks, they’ll either be a bar or drinks laid on for staff. Again quantities are important here – if you are doing a free bar up until a certain limit make sure staff understand that in case they think they are getting free drinks all night. Try to be as generous as you can with drinks as this is most likely to get everyone in the party mood!
Choose entertainment that ties in with the theme of your event. It could simply be a great band or perhaps you’ll get magicians or circus acts to perform while you dine. You could go for something more low key like a staff Christmas quiz, or something a little different like a wine tasting.
Your event will no doubt be broken down into different sections. There might be a cocktail reception, followed by dinner, followed by speeches and awards, your entertainment and then a disco. Make sure you time everything so that the event starts and finishes when it should and always allow time for things to run on a little longer than you expected. No one wants to be kicked out of the venue halfway through dinner because your CEO did an hour long speech instead of the 5-minute one you’d planned!
Wherever and whatever your event may be, remember to make sure that you have organised enough help to clean up afterwards. You might be somewhere that takes care of all of that, but if you need to find a designated team to help then ensure you have your volunteers firmly in place beforehand. If you are holding your office Christmas party in the office itself, you may want to hire a professional cleaning company to help tidy up after the party is over. Speak to us at Swift Office Cleaning Services for additional cleaning options alongside your regular daily office cleaning.
Equipment – make sure your venue has all the equipment and furniture you need for your event – projectors, microphones, a dance floor, speakers, disco lights – whatever your planning, make a list of everything you need to make it work.
Transportation – if you have to organise the logistics of getting everyone to and from the event make sure you do so well in advance. If people have to get themselves there, give clear instructions and make sure they are aware of this!
Table plans – if you are creating a table plan make yourself well aware of any office politics in advance – you don’t want there to be any awkward moments.
Enjoy yourself! – Remember it is your Christmas party too so once the big day arrives just go with the flow and have fun!
If you are looking for a professional, expert cleaning company to keep your office looking pristine over the festive season then Swift Office Cleaning Services can help, just contact our friendly team to discuss your needs today.