Summer is the time of year when people want to let their hair down. The winter months have dragged dolefully by and spring’s rainy season has kept the mood somewhat bleak. With summer comes the promise of sunshine and a bit of fresh air, making it the perfect time to host an office party to boost staff morale. Throwing such an event can be a great way to interact with your employees. However, there are a few do’s and don’ts to consider if you want to ensure that your party is one that your employees will remember for all the right reasons.
The importance of advanced planning
Like any event that involves the PR of your business, you must plan ahead. The venue needs to be decided early, along with all the other intricate details that go into successful event planning. It’s easy to see a party as less important than completing this week’s sales report, or hiring the new HR Manager, but remember that your employees are your greatest asset. If they feel valued then you will undoubtedly do better business next quarter.
Summer Party “Do’s”
Business parties should be fun. They should not feel like just another day at the office, but rather feel relaxed, allowing employees to be themselves for a day. Here are a few tips to help you on your way:
1. Offer refreshments
You don’t have to offer a full three-course meal, but neither should you go with crackers and juice either. Show a bit of class and provide your employees with something that demonstrates you’re appreciative of their efforts to make your business a success. A BBQ is always a favourite as it’s informal, encourages people to mingle outdoors and can be served over a longer period of time, which will suit a larger group. If you’ll need catering supplies we have a great range on our website.
2. Offer both indoor and outdoor space
The ideal venue is one where employees can access both an indoor and outdoor setting. Some employees get a bit claustrophobic if confined to an indoor space for too long. Also, an outdoor space provides an area where the best of summer can be enjoyed, but if the British weather does get the better of you, having somewhere to retreat from the rain will appreciated by everyone.
3. Run competitions with prizes
Everyone loves free stuff. A raffle or a small gift is a great way to get your employees excited about the party. Keep in mind that the purpose of the event is to motivate your whole team, so if you have a large prize up for grabs, make sure you provide goody bags for everyone else. No one likes to feel like a loser.
4. Have a theme that your employees can engage with
Giving your party a theme is a great way to encourage participation. Avoid themes that are overly cliché if you want your party to stand out, but also keep it relatively broad to avoid forcing employees to turn up dressed as a 70’s pop star. Consider holding a vote beforehand as a way to involve your staff from the outset, and get buy-in for whatever concept is decided on.
5. Put on a show
Once you’ve decided on a theme, consider what you can provide as entertainment to really make the party go with a bang. You could hire a band, set up a fancy dress photo booth, hire a self-service popcorn machine or go all out and setup your own summer festival, dodgems and all. There are options to suit every budget and whim you could possibly have, but whatever you choose, make the entertainment optional. Nobody likes being told what to do at a party, so give them options and let them choose how they wish to entertain themselves.
Summer Party “Don’ts”
Hosting a successful party is as much about what you do, as what you don’t do. The best way to avoid throwing a party that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons is to keep liabilities to a minimum. Here are a few ideas to help you side step some of the more likely complications.
Offering an open bar
You may choose to have alcohol served at your party, but an open bar should be avoided. For one, open bars limit the sociable aspect, as most people will flock to the free booze. Certainly alcohol will allow your employees to relax and open up. But it will also be the number one cause of disputes, embarrassing situations and ultimately any regret that might arise. Perhaps offer a certain number of drinks on the house, but then ask employees to pay their own way for the rest of the evening. They are all adults and responsible for their own decisions, but if you encouraged an all night drinking session you will be the one feeling remorse the next day!
Playing tedious games
For some reason it’s become common for team games to feature highly on business party agendas. Whilst one or two optional activities may be fun for some of your employees, it is not a wise decision to turn your employee party into a day of managed fun. Let people choose to what degree they participate in any games you provide, and allow them to make their own entertainment otherwise.
Making your employees buy tickets
If you are hosting your party at a venue that is not owned by your company, do not ask your employees to pay to cover the cost. Instead, have your employees RSVP for the party so that you can plan accurately for the size of the room, parking and meal costs etc. An employee that has to pay for the party will not remember the party as being a hit, but rather as a ploy to make money. Happy employees make happy customers, so budget for this as you would for any other business activity. It will reap rewards if done right.
Be remembered for something special
Throwing a summer party that your employees will not forget means that they need to have something to say about it. What exciting thing are you going to present to the employees that they can talk about? Is it the food, the venue, the conversation, or the goodies that you threw in? Be creative, let your personality shine, and have fun. It is summer after all.