As an executive assistant, one of your tasks you may be to plan an office party. Office parties are great ways to enjoy social interactions with your co-workers outside of the office environment and to mingle with their families, fostering company pride and friendships. They can also be a major flop if not handled properly. If you’re anything like me, that all seems overwhelming—especially if your company is on the medium to large size. To take some of the stress off, here are a few tips to help you be the office party planner extraordinaire.
Don’t do it alone.
The first thing to remember is that you don’t have to plan the party all by yourself. Creating a party committee with representation from all of your office’s departments can help ensure that ideas will come from all types of employees. Spreading the responsibility around can also help lower the stress of the planning and ensure smooth execution. If the party is going to be huge, and at a time of year when your co-workers are busy with work, consider hiring a party planner to assist you.
Limit alcohol consumption. Seriously.
Alcohol can be a great social lubricant to help break the ice in awkward social situations, but it has a very dark side and many a company has had to deal with issues after office parties where the alcohol flowed a little too freely. If you plan on offering alcoholic beverages at your office party, it’s best to create a policy early on and communicate that policy well before the party so that Joe from Accounting doesn’t become Jerkface Joe after one too many beverages. A good idea is to create free drink tickets and limit each employee to two. With strong sexual harassment laws and other legal issues, it’s in the company’s best interests to help your fellow co-workers have fun without going overboard.
Choose a unique location.
If you want your office party to be memorable for the right reasons, a unique location can be a great way to do that. Museums, aquariums, golf courses, etc. can be some great options. Make sure it’s a place that can easily accommodate your group without being too large or too small. Venues that are too small make people feel claustrophobic and want to leave the event more quickly. Venues that are too big create awkwardness and discourage interaction. Do some research beforehand and pick the venue that’s the right combination of size and uniqueness for your company.
Have good food and make sure there’s enough of it.
Bad food and not enough food are two problems that can turn an otherwise nice party into a bit of a disaster. Hire out the food catering to a reputable caterer in your area. You can usually find some quality caterers who don’t cost an arm and a leg for good food. Make sure you order a little more than necessary and if possible, have your committee taste test the menu before the party. That will allow you to make adjustments as necessary.
Be as generous as you can be.
Lastly, we all know that budget is a thing to be aware of, so make sure you know exactly what the budget is and then make the party as nice as possible within that budget. You don’t want employees feeling like the company money could have been better spent somewhere else or feeling like not enough money was devoted to the party. Some careful budgeting beforehand can ensure your company can have its cake and eat it too.
These are just a few tips, but we hope they help to remove some anxiety about company party planning. Have you ever been to a good office party? What were some of the elements you feel made them successful? Please leave them in the comments below!