Most people love a good office party. Who’s the exception? Let’s just say that it’s very likely that the person responsible for organizing the party for his or her co-workers isn’t having quite as much fun as they are. Planning, purchasing supplies and cleaning up after the office party can be a nightmare. Luckily, the right party supplies can help streamline the process. Here are a few simple tricks that can make it easier to plan an office party that your employees are sure to love without running yourself ragged in the process.
Plan With Your Company Culture in Mind
Not all workplaces are created equal, and it is important to plan with your professional environment in mind. Many company parties fail when the difference is too jarring. A buttoned-down professional office may need a more formal party to help your employees feel comfortable, but if your employees typically show up in jeans and T-shirts, a black tie event may start things off on an anxious note. The most important thing is that your staff is comfortable and able to enjoy your office party. Remember, this is supposed to be fun.
Your choice of venue and decoration can go a long way toward setting the tone of the office party. Even a small banner and a couple of balloons can create a festive atmosphere in your breakroom. For larger celebrations, consider getting out of the office. Your staff spends all day there, so a change of scenery can loosen things up.
Plan Ahead and Choose Your Party Supplies Carefully
Having the right party supplies on hand is essential for creating a good office party, and sound choices can minimize your cleanup and organizing as well. For short, casual events, consider finger foods, coffee or tea, and small paper plates. Larger office parties such as a nice summer barbecue in the park need sturdier plates and utensils. Consider the logistics as well. Office parties that include full meals need to have plenty of space for people to sit to avoid spills and awkwardness. Make sure the food is good and there are a variety of options. Think about whether any of your employees have dietary restrictions and try to make sure there is something for everyone, even if you're just squeezing in a quick birthday party between office tasks and meetings.
Condiment and utensil dispensers can help you create a more organized, professional look rather than having untidy piles of plates and cups around. These can do double duty as daily organizers near the coffee machine and water cooler. Consider investing in some plastic table cloths to minimize cleanup. A pack doesn't take up much space in the breakroom cabinets, and you'll always have them on hand for upcoming office parties.
Structure the Party to Encourage Socializing
The hardest thing about organizing an office party is getting people to leave the shop talk at the door and actually socialize a bit, but encouraging that kind of bonding can create a more cohesive team. It may be difficult to do during short celebrations, but consider coming up with some party games for longer gatherings in the office. Trivia tournaments are always fun, and you can tailor the questions to your company or industry.
Consider using icebreakers to encourage your shy employees to get involved. Fun ones include games like "Guess Who?" where everyone writes a surprising fact about themselves and everyone has to guess who it applies to, or "Office Drama," which is similar to Charades, but with teams miming funny and frustrating work situations for others to guess. Plan ahead and make sure to have any necessary party supplies, such as a bowl or pitcher for drawing slips of paper.
And finally, be sure that everyone gets the memo. Word-of-mouth can be a tricky way to alert employees even in a small office, so send an email or drop paper invites on desks to make sure everyone knows about the office party.
Even small office parties require a bit of planning and forethought, but a little effort pays off big time during the event. With a few easy tricks, you can turn the task of planning your office parties from an obligation to a pleasure.
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