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Guide to Planning the perfect office Christmas party

Doodle
jaded

The end of the year is approaching and it’s likely that planning the office Christmas party is going to land on your to-do list.

Being responsible for everyone’s festive fun can be incredibly stressful and time consuming as you are forced to balance these responsibilities with the demands of work around Christmas time. However, it doesn’t have to be. Throwing the perfect Christmas party is a great way for everyone to blow off steam and boost morale, improving employee satisfaction and retention rates. Save yourself time and stress by following these tips to execute the perfect office end of year blowout:

Get a date in the diary, now
All the best places will be filling up, so if you want that dream location that everyone will love, you need to find a date that works for everyone and get booking! If you leave it late, venues will take advantage of the high demand and lack of options, bumping up the price as a result. It may sound easy, but finding a date that works for everyone  is so often a painful and seemingly impossible task. This is especially true around Christmas time with everyone’s chock-a-block schedules. Using a service like Doodle lets you avoid the endless, unproductive back and forth of email chains or WhatsApp messages, meaning you can move onto stage 2 – the all important venue.

Sorting the setting
With the when covered, now on to the where. No one wants to have a party at their desk. So, providing your budget allows, it’s best to take it out the office.  There are so many great venues out there, but you know your staff best. There’s no point booking a fancy place with beautiful architecture if your staff aren’t going to give it a moments notice. If a dirty downtown bar is more to their taste, then so be it. Finding a venue can be a real time drain, so using a handy app like Venuefinder.com will save you bundles of time by helping you find the perfect spot whilst on the go.

Lining stomachs
Carb heavy meals are key if you want your staff to survive the night and make it to work in the morning. The first thing to do here is identify any dietary requirements; a stray peanut and an ambulance ride to hospital wouldn’t feel very… ‘christmassy’. Once that’s sorted, on to sourcing the food. It’s likely you’ll be hiring caterers who will have a variety of options to work around these requirements. Make sure you shop around though, as prices vary massively. Next, you’ve got to sort out where everyone is sitting! With a larger team, a seating plan can be a great way to avoid ‘cleakiness’ and get colleagues talking to others that they wouldn’t usually. After all, it’s Christmas.

If you’re part of a smaller office, a round table can be a great way to get everyone engaged in conversation and avoid anyone being stuck at the lonely ends of the table, fighting to get their voice heard. If it’s likely to be a more lively affair where getting the whole office around a table to eat seems like a farfetched idea, then a buffet and canapés are a great alternative.

Drinks o’clock!
Regardless of the venue or the food, free alcohol is always a great way to win the hearts of your colleagues. However, in order to avoid any unsavoury circumstances, don’t go handing out free spirits. It’s best to stick to free wine and beer to dissuade them from moving on to the somewhat inevitable shots a little too early. It is important to remember, however, that you should respect those who don’t drink. Having a selection of mocktails can be a fun and inexpensive way to make sure everyone’s joining in the party.

Entertainment
Whatever your budget, entertainment can form a great talking point for colleagues to break the ice. So whether you get a magician to liven up the crowd, or a live band to get everyone on the dance floor, be sure to get something booked in. Good music makes for a good party. So, if the budget doesn’t allow for a DJ, it’s worth putting time into a playlist to suit all tastes.

Remember, it’s a work party
The Christmas party is about having fun together and bonding outside of the traditional work environment. However, no one wants to end up in the HR office the next day, and you don’t want to see them there – that’s not good for anyone, especially with a hangover. Perhaps just take a minute before the party to slip in a gentle reminder that they are in fact partying alongside colleagues, and most importantly – their employers.

The morning after
In order to avoid a complete waste of the day, a great way to boost productivity can be to give  employees the flexibility to come in an hour later to allow for a bit of recovery time. That hour lost is undoubtedly more than an hour gained in terms of work output. As someone who is setting an example, you want to show you can have a good time but also be ready for work the next day. It’s a great idea to lay out a pristine outfit the night before so that you can walk into the office looking fresh as ever. Make sure to get yourself a hearty breakfast on the way in too!