Give your co-workers a break from the daily grind by throwing an office party with these planning tips.
Office Party Invitations: Party with Purpose
The corporate world relies on mission statements and strategic goals — don’t let your office party be any different! Think through what you want people to take away from the party. Are you celebrating an individual or a company benchmark? A personal life event or a company event? To make the invitation feel even more special, consider a photo invitation. Whether your office is conservative or edgy, Evite’s got a professional event invitation to fit any occasion.
You can also use the invitation to reach out to co-workers for help setting up and cleaning up. Divide up tasks (decorating, music, setup, cleanup) and ask for volunteers for each. You might just find out that George in accounting has a hidden talent for banner hanging! Plus: Get the fun started long before the party itself by responding to guests’ RSVP comments right on the invitation.
Office Party Food and Drinks: Eat, Drink and Be Productive!
The most important part of your office party menu: options. The food should accommodate a variety of dietary preferences to please everyone in your office. Build-your-own buffets are ideal because co-workers can pick and choose what they like and skip what they don’t. At Evite, we often order a taco bar — plenty of toppings to satisfy both meat eaters and vegetarians alike.
When placing an order, consider your crowd. Do your employees like meat? Order extra steak and chicken. Got a lot of veggie lovers? An extra order of grilled veggies should do the trick. And if you don’t know, ask your co-workers in the days before your catering order is due to find out what they like.
Don’t forget dessert! Cookies are a popular option — and the leftovers transfer easily into the break room. As for drinks, offer a wide selection of sodas and water.
Office Party Decorations: Transform Your Space
An office party provides an opportunity to re-imagine the same old office you see every day. Don’t be afraid to shake up your space by re-arranging the furniture or covering bland walls with bright colors. Take color cues from your party invitation and use colored paper, ribbons and napkins to tie together a simple look. Food tent labels dress up your buffet table and keep you from having to explain the menu a dozen times. A little bit of work goes a long way and helps your event feel like a party rather than a staff meeting with better food and decorations.
Provide plenty of open space near the food for eating and mingling. If you have a big spread, separate the main buffet from the drinks or dessert table.
Raid your office supply closet for low-budget decorating ideas: Paper clips or rubber bands make hanging decorations from the ceiling fast and easy, while a three-hole punch and colored paper can create a quick spray of colorful confetti for your buffet table. Even simple white holiday lights and a tablecloth can change the mood of a conference room: Hang the lights along the ceiling or drape them on the table itself. Use the conference room projector to show an HR-friendly movie (try one relating to your party theme) on a plain wall.
Office Party Activities: More Fun Than a Performance Review
A good office party can also be a fun team-building exercise. Create seating charts or games that pair up people who don’t normally work together. A simple centerpiece of a colorful paper bag or vase can be filled with random conversation-starter questions to get people learning something new about each other. Simple getting-to-know-you activities such as Who Am I? can engage even the most reserved data analyst.
If the party is honoring a co-worker, consider creating a wall of well wishes with simple kraft paper and markers.
Finally, create a makeshift photo booth with printable props to give co-workers a chance to strike a pose. Set up a festive backdrop behind the booth with streamers or colored paper.
Office Party Playlist: Blast Some Boogie
Return to your party mission statement when creating your playlist to find the right music for your theme and party goals. You can even invite your guests to share their favorite playlists during the party. Whether you use music on your phone or your favorite online streaming station to crank up the tunes, don’t forget strategically placed external speakers to pump up the sound.
Pro tip: Shutting down the music is a helpful cue that it’s time for cleanup so everyone has time to make it to the 3 PM staff meeting.
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