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Party Success… 5,4,3,2,1

After a long year of meetings, memos, and project deadlines, your staff always looks forward to the opportunity celebrate, socialize, and unwind. The office holiday party has become a rite of passage in corporate America and something that even the most curmudgeonly employee learns to embrace. Don’t let your party get off the rails before it even starts. By taking the time to plan and follow a few easy steps you’ll be the organizer of a cherished holiday office experience.

Plan Accordingly

Attempting to organize a party at the last minute will only yield more stress for you and your staff. Hastily calling a caterer or making a run to the dollar store to purchase some cut-rate holiday décor are some of the fastest ways to get the celebration off to a rough start. You can lessen the panic by getting your thoughts on paper well before the RSVP’s roll in. Get referrals for quality caterers or food providers. Make sure the invite is posted clearly and set a reminder schedule. An email only invite will easily find its way to the bottom of spam folders. If being a host or hostess isn’t your thing, don’t be afraid to seek guidance from a more experienced office party planner.

Set Expectations

Despite the festive décor and welcoming nature of office holiday gatherings, the subject of gift giving can be a source of anxiety for some partygoers. You can help alleviate awkward encounters among your staff by setting clear expectations for office gifts. Institute a Pollyanna or other similar gift exchange. Encourage your staff to contribute to a local charity or non-profit and forgo tangible gifts. “Secret Santa” is another popular office gift giving strategy. Setting guidelines about budget or number of gifts is a surefire way keep all attendees on a level playing field.

Say a Few Words

At some point during the celebration it will seem appropriate that a member of management make a few remarks. Making a toast is a great way to reach a joyful climax of the celebration. Keep your comments brief, positive, and highlight feelings of unity and teamwork. Don’t dwell too much on facts, figures, or other jargon.

Imbibe Responsibly

Throughout the afternoon or evening of the party as co-workers gather and celebrate, it can be easy to forget your environment. While the fun keeps pouring, be sure to keep yourself in check. If your office celebration is at an off-site location, it can be especially difficult to remind yourself that these are your co-workers and not college friends at the local watering hole. Enjoy yourself, but remember to keep it to a two-drink minimum, if not a no drink minimum.

 Uber or Lyft?

When the party starts to wind down it is time to start thinking about getting everyone home safe. Make sure that everyone has easy access to a ride home. Don’t pressure co-workers to drive home partygoers instead set up rides via a ridesharing service or taxi company, you’ll be hailed as an office hero and avoid any awkward drives home. Additionally, it is very easy (and free!) to set up a company Uber account in order to arrange rides for employees who may require one.

It may seem like a lot of extra work setting up a memorable office holiday celebration, but it will help the evening run smoothly. Remember the spirit of the season is one of joy and camaraderie. Don’t let the holiday planning stresses sneak into all the fun.