Party On: 5 Office Holiday Party Planning Tips for Employers

Illustration of people standing at an office holiday party.

It’s that time of year again. Here are tips on planning and hosting an awesome office holiday party.

Between deadlines, client requests and all the other management responsibilities you shoulder, planning an office holiday party might not be top of mind right now. But throwing some sort of event for your creative firm or department is an effective way to lift morale and show your team just how much you value their contributions.

In a recent survey by The Creative Group, 48 percent of advertising and marketing executives said they think their employees would most like to celebrate the holidays with colleagues at an off-site soiree. Another 21 percent said an in-office holiday party would be preferred. (See our infographic below for the full results.)

If you’re organizing an office holiday party of any kind, here are some things to consider as you plan.

Book it

While you might not be able to jump into party-coordinating mode this minute, don’t dawdle. The process can require more time and effort than you realize. If you plan to venture off-site, remember that reservation slots at restaurants and banquet halls vanish quickly around the holidays. The earlier you book, the better. The same holds true for caterers, entertainers and DJs.

Get the invitations out

There’s a good chance your employees’ availability will be limited around the holidays. Before schedules begin to fill up, send your invitations so they can plan accordingly. Beyond providing the basic “what,” “when” and “where” information, note if significant others or family members are invited and the dress code. If you plan on serving alcohol, let guests know if transportation will be available.

Go for good gifts

Offer presents or party favors that are actually desirable. Hokey handouts or clichéd trinkets can be worse than giving nothing at all — unless you’re doing a white elephant gift exchange, of course.

Squash the shoptalk at the office holiday party

When it comes time for the actual party, set a festive tone by keeping the focus on non-work-related issues. If necessary, quarterback conversations away from business matters. Show your staff that you care about them not just as employees, but as people. Express your interest in learning about their favorite outside interests and hobbies. Circulate the room and go out of your way to invite wallflowers into the conversation.

Be on your best behavior

While you want to build camaraderie with your staff and have a good time, avoid “over” anything. This includes indulging in gossip or too much alcohol. Even mildly inappropriate behavior can leave a lasting negative impression that could come back to haunt you. Have fun at your office holiday party, but make showing your appreciation for your team the top priority.

As you know, your marketing and creative team members often work under unrelenting deadlines. Don’t underestimate the power of giving employees a well-deserved opportunity to kick back and converse in a relaxed, no-pressure environment.  The time and effort you put into planning an office holiday party will pay big dividends in terms of staff spirit and loyalty.

For more on this topic, read our post on office holiday party etiquette

Tags: Perks