Business development 9 November 2017

How to pull off the perfect office Christmas party

Businessman at party
Organising the end-of-year party doesn’t have to be stressful

Save yourself time and stress by following these tips to have the perfect office Christmas party, according to productivity expert and managing director at tech platform Doodle, Gabriele Ottino.

It’s approaching that time of year again, and your staff are going to be expecting a festive blowout.

The problem is, it can be difficult to balance the increased demands of running a business around Christmas with the responsibility of pulling off the perfect festive fiesta. However, it doesn’t have to be.

Throwing a fantastic end of year do is a great way for you to reward your staff, allowing everyone to let off steam and boost morale ready for the year ahead.

(1) Nail down a date, now

If you want to find the top location, you need to get in there early. All the best places will be filling up, so you need to find a date that works for everyone and get booking.

Venues are in high demand around Christmas time, so if you leave it too late, prices will go through the roof.

It may sound easy, but finding a date that works for everyone is so often a painful and seemingly impossible task. This is especially true around Christmas, when everyone’s schedules are full to the brim.

Using something like Doodle lets you avoid the endless, unproductive back and forth of email chains or WhatsApp messages, meaning you can move on to finding the all-important venue.

(2) Location, location, location

If your budget allows, it’s best to take the party out the office. You may love what you do, but a Christmas party is about leaving work behind.

There are so many different venues out there, but you’ve got to find one that suits your staff. If your employees won’t give the beautiful paintings and furnishings a second look, you’re probably better off renting the VIP section at the local bar.

Finding a venue can be a time drain, so using an app like Venuefinder.com will save you bundles of time and help you find the perfect office Christmas party spot whilst on the go.

How to capture those last-minute Christmas shoppers

(3) Festive nibbles to line the stomach

Your staff aren’t going to be very functional the next day if you don’t line their stomachs effectively. Carb-heavy meals can be instrumental in ensuring attendance.

The first and most important thing is to identify any dietary requirements. It wouldn’t feel much like a party if one of you ends up in a hospital bed.

Next, it’s on to sourcing the food. It’s likely you’ll be hiring caterers who will have a variety of options to work around these requirements. Make sure you shop around though, as prices vary massively.

You’ve then got to sort out where everyone is sitting. With a larger team, a seating plan can be a great way to get colleagues talking to others that they wouldn’t usually rather than everyone splitting off into their usual groups.

If you’re part of a smaller office, a round table can be a great way to get everyone engaged in conversation and avoid anyone being stuck at the lonely ends of the table, fighting in vain to get their voice heard.

If it’s likely to be a livelier affair where getting the whole office around a table to eat seems like a far-fetched idea, then a buffet and canapés are a great alternative.

(4) Drink and be merry

No matter how much effort you put into everything else, alcohol is always the best way to win over your colleagues.  It’s simple, but effective.

An open bar is undoubtedly going to make you popular. However, in order to avoid any unsavoury circumstances, don’t go handing out free spirits.

It’s best to stick to free wine and beer to dissuade them from moving on to the (somewhat inevitable) shots a little too early.

It is important to remember, however, that you should respect those who don’t drink. Having a selection of mocktails can be a fun and inexpensive way to make sure everyone’s joining in the party.

Four alternative Christmas party ideas for a small business

(5) Carols and comedians

Whether or not you have a large budget, it’s worth getting entertainment booked – big or small. If it’s a live band you go for, a classic karaoke, or even a stand-up comedian, entertainment is a great way to break the ice and get people chatting.

Good music makes for a good party. So, if the budget doesn’t allow for a DJ, it’s worth putting time into a playlist to suit all tastes.

(6) Office party etiquette

The whole point of a Christmas party is to have fun together and dance off any excess stress. However, as true as this is, it’s important that everyone remembers that it is in fact a work party. No one wants to end up in a serious chat the next morning, especially with a hangover.

You don’t want to be the one having these chats either. It’s worth just taking a minute before the party to slip in a gentle reminder that they are in fact partying alongside colleagues, and most importantly, their employers.

(7) Hangover helper

Unfortunately, the day after isn’t going to be the most productive. In order to overcome this inevitable productivity dip, allowing workers to come in an hour later means they’ll be slightly fresher faced.

In terms of output, the extra productivity will undoubtedly offset the hour lost in the morning.

As role models, business owners want to show they can have a good time on the night but also show up to work ready for the day ahead, even if this may be somewhat of a façade.

Laying out a pristine outfit the night before can be a great idea to ensure you’re looking on the top of your game. Don’t forget to grab yourself a substantial breakfast on the way in too.

Gabriele Ottino is the managing director at Doodle, a scheduling app for small businesses.

Ten management tips for a happy and trouble-free Christmas party

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