Office Parties 101

Tag. You're now in charge of planning the perfect party for your office.

By the numbers, office parties aren't all that rare. Most mid-sized companies in the United States employ over 20 people; in context, this is equal to roughly two birthday parties a month. Did you hire a new employee, or is a valued member of your team retiring? Did your company just secure a major deal? Is the holiday season on the horizon? The odds are that this task will come across your desk more than once.

It's no small responsibility and adding this daunting project to an already full to-do list can be overwhelming. However, planning an office get-together doesn't have to be as tough as announcing a major product line or launching a marketing campaign. But, where do you start?



Set Proper Expectations

Not all parties are created equal. Sometimes sharing a few cupcakes among a small group of team members can be a perfect way to give your employee a great birthday. A holiday party or major announcement can be a different story. A good rule-of-thumb to follow is: the more personal the occasion, the smaller the party. The more people the event is celebrating (team, division, company-wide), the larger the party.

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Planning and Preparation

Don’t do it alone! Recruit your colleagues into the planning process. Establishing a host or planning committee can be a fantastic way to delegate work, gather new and interesting ideas and ensure you have the best party possible. If it's a birthday party, bringing in friends or family members can also personalize the celebration and make it one to remember. For larger occasions, a diverse group of employees from across the company can help get the word out and ensure that your whole company is represented from square one.

Pick a Spot

Holding your event in-house may be more convenient (and budget-friendly), but venturing out to favorite restaurant or venue can truly make it unforgettable. Depending on how early the planning process starts, exploring this option can dramatically cut down on your workload and allow you to enjoy celebrating with your coworkers a little more. If an outside venue is out of your price range, get creative with your space! There’s no reason to sit at your desk: if it’s a nice day, heading outside can be a fun change of pace.

Lead by Example

Office parties give your team an opportunity to let off a bit of steam and get together to (hopefully) talk about something other than work. They allow people to interact with colleagues in a more relaxed setting and play a big role in fostering a positive work environment. With that said, office parties should still be done professionally. If you’re a senior leader in your company, you play an important role in setting the tone. As a rule of thumb, you should recognize that your employees will match your consumption and your professionalism. If your drink count starts multiplying, chances are that of your employees will follow suit. Be sure to keep that in mind as you enjoy your event with the rest of the team.



At the end of the day, these events are for allowing your staff to unwind or decompress after a long workday. You deserve to enjoy them too! Planning early, limiting expectations and HAVING FUN are the keys to ultimate office party planning success.