Although the office party has acquired a reputation for excess in some circles, not all end in real or pretended amnesia the morning after – especially if they’re well planned and managed, and not just an impromptu junket down the local pub.
Depending on the size of your party, you could reserve, for your exclusive use, anything from a small suite to a function room at a hotel or Conference centre, with catering as part of the package. It’d be less fraught and chaotic, move the proceedings along on oiled wheels, and help make the occasion a special one.
It might seem a contradiction in terms, but the most easy-going and good spirited parties are the best organised ones, especially when there’s a waiter at your elbow to pour the wine! So book ahead – by at least six to eight weeks if it’s a seasonal bash and you don’t want to be left to discover there’s no room at the inn.
Send out invitations (emails are best) indicating whether the invitation is open to staff only or includes their spouse or significant other, and add an RSVP. This is important because the take up will dictate the size of the venue and, if the company is stumping up for it, the cost.
The time of the day and week is important too. Fridays are good (so they won’t have to crawl into the office with a sore head the morning after!) and around 7pm is favourite (because it allows time for the girls to nip home and dress up and the boys to dress down – or vice versa!)
Of course the key to all successful parties is ambience, of which there are three key ingredients: good company, music/entertainment and a well-stocked bar!
To a degree the party will make its own entertainment, but it doesn’t hurt to break the ice by stage managing things a little. Plan two or three activities: a raffle, gift exchange or party games. If the venue has AV facilities you might even consider cobbling together a fun slide show of, say, staff members as babies (guess which is which and award prizes), or out-takes from your corporate video (where the MD muffs his lines or loses his rag!)
As to music/entertainment you could, if budget allows, hire a band or DJ and get the company up and dancing. Or have an open-mic event (did someone say karaoke?) There’s at least one of two performers in every company.
Needless to say, we at The Stansted Conference Centre would be delighted to help you plan your office Christmas party and lay on all the support you require in terms of room hire, catering, PA and AV facilities. But be sure to give a call before the season gets too advanced