Throwing a company party is one of those jobs that can seem ridiculously overwhelming, but mostly because of the scale involved. For a large business, a professional party planner expert is a wonderful way to go, but for smaller businesses of under a hundred individuals or so, having an internal party. Is a great idea. Whether you want to schedule time at a restaurant or have a party in the office or in your home, there are specific necessary steps which can help you feel less overwhelmed.
Understand the Goal of the Event
This is your motivation for your event—is it a holiday party? Is it a birthday for a coworker? Perhaps a retirement event? The reason for the event dictates what kind of formality, which individuals will be coming, and especially how much of an event you need. Planning a formal dinner for several hundred is far different than planning a casual get together for twenty, after all.
Set Your Budget
Each company will have a different budget which is available to them for corporate parties, and this will, of course, dictate where you go and what you do. Having an established budget helps you to delineate where the allotments are going: splitting your budget into food budget, décor, etc. For smaller companies who are doing casual parties, your budget mostly will go to food and drink, and if offered, alcohol.
Delegate Roles to Employees
Just as you would at a home event, delegation is important! Having a committee available of people who enjoy decorating and presenting a party is essential. One individual attempting to prepare all parts can be overwhelming, and makes the party less fun for everyone. If you do not have the ability to delegate formally to an employee, consider delegation to other specialists. Consider seeing if there are local historical homes, or other event venues, to whom you could go if your budget allows a party space. Even for large events, using local specialists to whom you can delegate cleaning and décor saves a lot of stress!
Make Arrangements for Food
If you delegate food to a local business, you’re not only providing a specialist in charge of that section, but also bringing money back into the community at an important time. If that is not a possibility, consider what foods your employees like to eat and perhaps survey how they would like to do food options. Using the ability to do finger foods and self-served luncheon items for busy offices can be a great chance to enjoy a “free lunch” as a treat, but not restrict employees to staying later during a busy holiday season, for example. Bamboo skewers enhance the presentation of your food and can impress guests. Skewered meats, vegetables, and fruits can all readily be available and can be safely distributed.
Arrange for Set Up/Take Down
Delegating who will be available for setting up tables and chairs if needed, décor, and who also will be doing the cleaning afterwards is critical. Again, even if you have a party committee, having others who can help with cleaning up afterwards is important. If this will be your janitorial staff, please include a bonus for doing so, especially around the holidays. While decorating is generally delightful, taking things apart and cleaning up after is usually not. Remember, this includes arranging things like silverware and plates, cups, drinks, laying out foods, and making sure there is enough seating.
Use Your Words
Digital design programs such as Canva which create free social media images are a great way to create shareable invites to your party or event. Facebook has events pages which you can use to create and invite individuals as well, and coordinate to plan activities if your party involves a potluck or other participation needs. You need not be afraid of forgetting something critical if you use a checklist or spreadsheet to organize what is necessary. For example, if you have décor to transport to a secondary location, you don’t want to also forget a gift for the exchange, etc. This will help you prepare in advance, but also will help make sure that you can refine your strategies for the next year.
The most important thing to remember about event planning is that, most likely, something is going to go wrong, or at least try to. An event is similar to a stage play: people see what happens on the stage itself, but not the frantically working people behind stage. Your goal is a fun event where people can enjoy themselves. If and when something needs to be changed because of a mishap, take a deep breath and accept it. Changes are good, and while they can be frustrating if you have a specific goal in mind, you will survive them! Minimize accidents by using simplicity. A table, food and friends is a wonderful party in and of itself.
There is a learning curve to throwing parties, especially large events, and especially to knowing what kind of style event your personal office enjoys. But, it’s not only possible to learn how to throw amazing company parties for events throughout the year, it’s a great way to bring employees closer together as a team. Think about the overall goals your company has for your team, and how they could be encouraged. Employees like personal time and recognition. They want to know how they are appreciated for the work they do, but not in a generic way. For example, if a gift from the company is given, it is more personal to find a way to give it subtly in person, but not in a formal presentation sort of way. Shipping a gift to a house is far less personable and does not build rapport with your team. Having a couple of moments with a boss who tells them that she appreciates what they are doing, is. Aim for a personable, thoughtful party, not a showy, gigantic affair, and you can’t go wrong!
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