Nobody in the history of holiday parties has ever turned to the person next to them and said, “I’m loving all these speeches”, or “I’m glad there’s no free food here”. That’s another way of saying that, too often, company holiday parties miss the mark; they try to carry over some of the corporate atmosphere of the office, when what they really should be doing is the exact opposite.
Company holiday parties are all about leaving the work behind, stepping outside the office and engaging with your colleagues as friends and peers. It is an all-important release of the vent, a way for employees to blow off a little steam in advance of another busy year. With that in mind, it is in your best interest, if you are planning the holiday party, that you make it fun. Here are a few hacks you can use to ensure that, this year, the company shindig is actually fun.
Take A Poll
Company parties don’t have to be a top down decision – let your colleagues have some say in the party. After all, it is for them. This could be as sending out a poll email, giving people a few different options, or leaving an anonymous ballot box out for people to write in suggestions. Looping people into the planning process will ensure a more democratic company holiday party, and therefore a more enjoyable one.
Take It Elsewhere
Do not have it in the office! It’s understandable that management or the C-suite would want to cut costs by throwing the office party in the office, but that’s just so depressing. The whole point of a holiday party is to not think about work, but that’s a big ask when you are literally surrounded by reminders of work. Book a venue and activity and leave behind the desks.
Choose An Unconventional Activity
Dare to be different when planning this year’s party. Instead of the usual bar or event hall, why not take everyone axe throwing? It sounds strange, but axe throwing is gaining popularity in the world of corporate events for a good reason – learning how to throw an axe is both a great teambuilding exercise and an exhilarating icebreaker. It shakes up the regular routine in a cool, exciting way, and provides a unconventional venue in which people can mingle. Besides, throwing axes might just be the perfect stress-reliever, something that employees might need after a long year of work.
Food Choices Aplenty
Food is the key to a person’s heart, and giving an employee free food is a surprisingly effective morale booster. It doesn’t necessarily need to be fancy, but it should all taste good, and – crucially – there should be options available. This is an age of multiple, often-overlapping, dietary restrictions, so variation is key, with gluten free, vegan, dairy-free and allergy-free options available. Do yourself a favour and, when you send out the aforementioned poll, ask people to list any dietary restrictions.
Keep The Shop Talk To A Minimum
This goes for speeches as well. While speeches might be important for management, the rest of the employees will be yawning their way through this portion of the evening. Have management/owners say a few quick words about this past year’s successes/challenges, commend everyone for their hard work, then be finished with the work talk. And under no circumstances should you allow actual work or business matters to creep into the evening’s proceedings – that’s a sure fire way to bring down the mood.
Make The Next Day A Relaxed One
Employees are going to drink at the company holiday party – that’s almost guaranteed. That being said, the merciful thing to do is not to punish them the next day for having fun. Make the day after your company part a low key one, and get management on board with the plan. If you’re really feeling in the holiday spirit, you can give everyone the day off, but that’s up to the bosses.
Company parties don’t have to be boring, and they certainly don’t have to be work. Plan this year’s holiday party with the average employee in mind: choose an exciting venue, offer plenty of food and drink, and cut the work speeches to a minimum. What you spend in extra time and effort, you will most certainly reap in improved morale.