The first “ber” month of 2015 has arrived. If you are in charge of this
year’s office Christmas Party, then you will do well to read this series
of articles, which comes in five parts. But first, we need to know if
you and us are on the same page: our definition of the Best Office
Christmas Party Ever is one where almost everyone has a great time. This
may seem obvious, but some office Christmas parties are organized in a
way that seems to make the organizer look good rather than for the staff
to have a good time. It is easy to spot this type of office Christmas
Party : attendance is compulsory and the party has a lot of
performances, and speeches.
This article contains 10 essential rules for planning an office party in Fort Bonifacio. After reading this, you can read the following articles for additional resources:
Rule #1 – Make them want to go, not have to go
How can a party be great if participants do not enjoy it?
Give people good reasons to want to go, like good food, nice place,
and some prizes. Holding it during office hours would definitely be
preferred over a party being held outside office hours. Should
attendance be obligatory? After all, if it to be held within office
hours, they should either be at the party or working, right? That’s
certainly within the right of the employer. On the other hand, you can
choose to see the party time as time invested in boosting staff morale.
If you succeed in giving your staff a good time, then the return on
investment will be felt for a long time.
Rule #2 – Recruit planners that enjoy the extra work
Unless you have staff whose job is to boost staff morale, any body
recruited to help you with planning will have his/her own regular duties
to perform. It would be wise, therefore, to find someone who likes
organizing parties and be given time to do that within his/her working
hours. If the office cannot afford to allocate any staff to Christmas
Party planning, then a simple party can still be enjoyable.
Getting the right venue requires early action.
Rule #3 – Choose venue that allows participants to leave early
This means, for example, not to hold the party on a boat, unless
there are scheduled drop-off times. Although as event planner, you would
like everyone to stay as long as possible so that they get to
experience everything you have planned for them, ultimately you have to
accept that there could be emergency situations where some participants
have to leave early.
Rule #4 – Explain the rules if there are any
For example, if there are repercussions for not showing up, dress code or
rules of behavior, explain beforehand. This will avoid embarrassing
moments such as guests finding that they wore the wrong outfit to the
event, or acting in a way that is considered inappropriate. If you have
planned something that targets participants are likely to regret if they
missed it, then you should at least give a hint in the invitation, e.g.
announcements of some awards, or raffles with big prizes.
Rule # 5 – Find out what the budget is and stick with it
If you really think that the budget is too tight for achieving what
the company wants to accomplish through the party, then talk to the
financier first before busting the budget: else you may end up paying
What does your company want to achieve? It could be having a decent
party that the employees will not be embarrassed to tell their friends
about, which means a passable party, and a venue in a hotel or fancy
restaurant (because the first thing that friends want to know about
your office party is “where was it held”), or a party that shows
employees how important that the company thinks of them, which could
mean holding it in a classy venue with meaningful gifts, or a party that
is mainly about fun, which could mean the quality of food and
activities are more important than the name recognition of the venue.
Based on that information, you can draw up a tentative program and work
out the budget, and see if it is within the company’s budget for this
event. If it is not, either you try to convince the company to revise
the budget limit, or, if that is unsuccessful, revise the program.
Rule # 6 – Do not overdo ceremonial stuff
The sponsors of the party, i.e. those who pay for it, should be
given some acknowledgement at the event. The staff may want to hear some
words of encouragement from top management. But on the whole, most
people cannot relax when they are not allowed to move or talk for more
than 15 minutes.
Rule # 7 – Do not have surprise guests that your staff do not know
People will act differently in front of strangers. It is harder for
people to relax when they are worried about the consequences of not
acting “professionally” in a party. Who knows? the stranger could be CEO
of a big company, or a new director of the company.
Rule # 8 – Do not let it get out of hand
It is an office event, after all, and the name of the company is
associated with it. If photos of the event end up in the pages of the
local newspaper for the wrong reason, the repercussion could be severe.
Therefore, be mindful of the usual culprit – too much liquor. Banning
liquor completely would be a bad idea for a party, but limiting the free
supply of it should be acceptable to all concerned.
Rule # 9 – Do not have reasons not to show up
It is true that employees are usually more relaxed when the
supervisors are not in the room, but the absence of management staff in a
Christmas party may be construed as a slight. And what if there are
situations that require intervention by the principal event planner?
Rule # 10 – Be culturally sensitive
Many companies in The Fort are international companies. Some employees
and management staff may be recruited from overseas. There may be
dietary restrictions for health or religious reasons. It would be wise
to pay attention to this, and at the minimum, include a few vegetarian
dishes in the menu.
Lastly, do not plan too late. The later you plan, the fewer options
you have. Venues for large groups (over 100 people) are especially
limited in supply. In our next articles, we will list the critical steps
in planning the best Christmas Party in The Fort ever, as well as suggested
┬áAfter reading this, you can read the following articles for additional resources: