By Mike James
Whether or not you’re religious, Christmas comes but once a year and it’s a perfect chance to let your hair down. In offices up and down the country, the crucial question of “What are we doing for Christmas this year?” will have been dealt with many months ago – and a good job too because an office Christmas party is probably the most important work event of the year.
A great experience for the team to share
The prospect of a Christmas Party at work shouldn’t be something to dread or eye-roll at – though many people do. On the contrary, the idea should be embraced and approached with excitement. Yes, it’s a convenient excuse to dress up for a night out, throw some shapes and get sloshed with your team, but don’t for a minute underestimate this great opportunity for team bonding.
When else is there a chance for team members from different departments to socialize together? From the company director down to the intern, everyone is able to relax and mingle – it’s where company loyalty is born.
The Office Christmas Party will undoubtedly be talked about for many days or weeks after the event, depending on what exactly ‘went down’ on the night. It’s a shared experience that will play an important part in shaping your employees’ views of the company and its culture, and what it feels like to work there.
An office party is not just for Christmas
With increased efficiencies and financial cutbacks high on many company’s agendas, it’s tempting to think that a Christmas party is one luxury you can do without. But this would be a short-sighted approach that might well backfire in the longer term.
However, if you treat your employees well now, they will be motivated to help your business flourish, and you will be reaping the rewards. Maybe a better question to ask is whether your business can afford not to have a Christmas bash?
Above all else, Christmas is an excellent time to say ‘thank you’ to your team for all their hard work and dedication over the past year. What better way to do this than by throwing a party, especially in the run-up to Christmas when it will be pretty much expected anyway? If money is an issue, there are many ways to organize a festive event on a budget.
Good organization means greater anticipation
Received wisdom says that the later you leave it to book your party, the smaller the choice of available venues and dates and the lower the room for financial negotiating. When it comes to Christmas bookings, last minute deals are far and few between.
Did you know that some companies book their Christmas Party as early as January? That way, the deal is done (and probably at a very competitive Early Bird price too!), your Office Manager can stop worrying and the team can spend the rest of the year looking forward to the date.
While lavish festive parties, themed events, entertainment and free drinks are usually seen as the gold standard when it comes to Office Christmas Parties, it doesn’t have to be all that extravagant. Cut your coat according to your cloth, as the old saying goes, and keep it more casual and affordable. Why not stay put and get the office decked out in seasonal style by a professional Christmas decorator and serve drinks and nibbles at your place of work?
Embracing the Christmas spirit
Once the date, time and place for your company’s festive event has been set, it’s all hands to the pump to make it a success. It doesn’t matter whether you’re having few sherries and mince pies at the desk or a luxury night out at a nice venue, if you’re going to do it, don’t hold back and embrace the spirit of Christmas.
From choosing your festive menu options to organizing this year’s Secret Santa or carriages at midnight, it helps if there is a team of little ‘volunteer’ helpers to make sure it all goes according to plan.
Of course, all employees should make the effort to attend – it’s not really cool to duck out of the most important events of the year! – and if there’s a fancy dress theme, so much the better. On the night, do your best to talk to as many of your team as you can and, above all, have fun.
Mike James is a UK-based writer for a few small companies and organizations, as well as numerous print and online magazines. Specializing in technology developments and business matters, Mike is best known for articles based around how best to integrate the two – particularly concerning cyber security, where he has been published in some of the leading authorities online.