Friday, January 18, 2013

Four Tips for Planning a Successful Office Party

Throwing a successful office party can be tricky, there are a lot of little decisions to take into consideration.  You want it to be fun, but still professional.  Here are a few tips I've learned over the course of my office party planning experiences -
  • Pick a day for the party that is most likely to maximize staff turnout.  In a traditional Monday - Friday workspace, the best day for a party will usually be a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday since staff are more likely to take a Friday or Monday off to get a three-day weekend or to telecommute on those days.  Tues - Thur are the core business days in many workplaces.  If this isn't the case where you work, note what the core business days are and plan your party on one of those days.
  • Pick a party event theme that is simple, fun, and appropriate.  Keep it simple, because the main goal of your party is usually just to get coworkers together to socialize, to be able to enjoy each others company and talk about something other than work.  Pick a theme that's easy to execute, like a themed potluck.  Make sure it's appropriate for the event, however.  For example, "nachos" will never be a suitable theme for a baby shower. 
  • Games and activities can be fun, but aren't always necessary.  Usually just getting folks together to talk and enjoy a good meal is often enough to keep things interesting.  The more people attending your party, the truer this tends to be as it gives people an opportunity to visit with a large number of people.  If there is enthusiasm among your group for some party games, go with it.  Just don't force it.
  • A little quiet background music can be a pleasant addition.  I usually go with a mix of instrumental music from a couple different genres and keep the volume just low enough as to not be a distraction.  If at some point you can't hear the music because people are talking over it, that can be a good thing, as your attendees are actually engaging in successful conversation and not standing around awkwardly. 

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(Featured photo credit: jerekeys / Foter.com / CC BY)

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