It’s that time of year again: time for holiday parties, with all their bloated budgets, bad ideas and liability minefields. Wait a minute—it doesn’t have to be like that at all!
Holiday parties are a great idea: they can improve morale, enhance employee engagement, encourage bonding among employees and reward hard work. But they can be expensive and get out of hand pretty easily. If you’d like to have a budget-conscious holiday party, here are some ideas:
- Have a catered lunch in the employee break room. Workplace holiday parties should take place away from working areas; not only does this encourage a more festive atmosphere, it keeps people from spilling sparkling cider into a workstation.
- Take the team out to lunch at a restaurant. This can be more cost-effective than catering and also gets everyone out of the office.
- Have a catered non-lunch. One great idea we read was a “dessert party” or an ice cream social. The more variety in the foods served, the better, in terms of dietary restrictions and religious guidelines.
- Hold a company outing. If there’s a special holiday show in town, take your employees to a matinee showing (maybe “A Christmas Carol” by the Virginia Stage Company). Another neat idea for after work hours is to take the team on a bus to see local holiday lights, such as the Garden of Lights at the Botanical Gardens, with a box meal.
- Wait until after the holidays. If your business doesn’t get too hectic after the first of the year, consider scheduling your holiday celebration for early January, when event fees tend to be much lower.
No matter what you do for your holiday party, remember these guidelines:
- If it’s during work hours, employees must be paid for the time.
- Don’t make it mandatory. The phrase “mandatory fun” is an oxymoron; when people choose to take part, events are much more enjoyable.
- Have a designated end time. The only thing worse than The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave is when it’s The Co-Worker That Wouldn’t Leave.
- Avoid serving alcohol. Not only does this keep costs down, it reduces your possible liability. By definition, any office party that results in a lawsuit is an epic fail.
We hope these tips will help you have a happier party that’s healthier for your people and your bottom line. Happy holidays!
What are you doing for an office holiday party this year? Let us know in the comments!
Written by: Catherine Cantieri