Office Party Planning

The 101 on how to avoid workplace function disasters!


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Organising an office party can be fun and exciting, it can also be a rather thankless task when the event doesn't go well - and often the first person blamed is the organiser. Thankfully, due to the Internet, it's getting easier and easier to find amazing party venues for any type of office party you want to throw. Unfortunately, like any other events, disasters can happen. While you had planned for a flawless office outing, problems can arise in many different shapes and forms. What's more annoying is that these party problems tend to happen when you least expect it. Here we'll try and walk you through some advice we've uncovered from years of successful and unsuccessful corporate events...

How do you make sure the office party will be a success, without too many incidents? Here are the factors to consider:

If Plan A doesn't work, there are still 27 letters left!
Always have a back-up plan. It never hurt anyone to think ahead of themselves. Just because you have hired the most sought-after caterers and picked out the most awesome party venue with stunning views, you can't just sit there and expect for everything to turn out perfectly. Newsflash: Nothing's perfect. So make sure you have a contingency plan in case something goes wrong. If it helps to be a paranoid just to make sure your boss won't consider firing you the next day because of your party, then, do it! You can thank us later.

Alcohol takes everyone to the next level
One of the things that you need to decide is whether to serve alcoholic drinks or not in your office party. While having a little vodka or wine at a party sounds fab, you need to think about your colleagues - especially those who become problematic when they start drinking. One of the reasons why office parties can turn into a frat party afterwards is because of too much alcohol consumption by the guests. So, before you start listing down the possible alcoholic drinks served in your office party - consult your boss, HR, or whoever has authority on whether you can serve responsibly until the wee hours or need to curb the alcohol consumption.

If you're not going to serve alcohol - inform your guests prior to them arriving at the venue, to try and avoid any awkward moments at the bar.

When alcohol is allowed, make sure that there is an appreciation of the importance of moderation and balance. The secret to having a successful party with booze is ensuring people who choose to drink alcohol are loosened up, not let loose - you don't want your coworkers' professional reputations tarnished over consuming too much alcohol. Restrict caterers automatically topping up full or half full glasses and encourage people to drink water or other non-alcoholic drinks by having them readily accessible. Remember, as a function organiser you also set an example - and sometimes bring an intoxicated colleague a non-alcoholic drink while having one yourself is the difference between them levelling out and doing something they'd later regret.

Be friendly, even if you don't particularly want to be
Office parties are made to get all sections of the business, as well as the bosses, to mingle and get to know each other. No matter how annoying that lady from HR maybe or even though you want to punch the life out of that guy who always bores you in the kitchen, you've got to try and forget all the hatred during this social event. Nobody died from talking to the person you hate, right? Plus, you might bump into some unexpected owners, stock holders, or important clients - so try and keep that smile on! Keep it casual and you will survive � It's only for a matter of hours and then you can go back to hating them again. ;)

Avoid controversial topics and bad taste humour
While it's an event where you're expected to have fun, it can also mean some people bring up topics that can easily offend. Sometimes these topics get heated, quickly. Using the tried-and-true political tactic of distraction you can often save potential arguments (or worse!) by stepping in with a ligh-hearted distraction or joke. Bring in something self-deprecating you're willing to share, if it doesn't get anyone laughing - laugh yourself - hopefully that alone should start diffusing the conversation, and then, maybe, you can move the topic on to something everyone can enjoy.

Again, this is a fun, business event
With the emphasis being on business - you don't want to end up with co-workers having disciplinary action against them due to a party you organised. Try to be as upfront about the situation as possible - let them know when the official party ends. Remind them about organising their trip home in advance. Will your company offer taxi or uber vouchers to get home after a certain time?

Dress Code
Tell your guests how to dress appropriately for the party, before they arrive. It is a business function, and no one wants to look out of place. Also be aware in the fun of it all, people may start losing items of clothing - and you want to work out a way you'd like to deal with that situation before it happens.

While the tips above may talk to the host, you as a guest should also observe proper party decorum. Do the planner and the rest of the guests a favor and behave yourself. Keep in mind that there is always an unspoken rule to remain on your best behavior. Party responsibly!

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Xmas party?
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