6 tips for organising the perfect office Christmas Party

By: Mike Hollinshead: Minister for office christmas parties - iFLY Manchester

Organising the company Christmas party can be tough. It’s not easy keeping everyone happy and the event on budget. Whether it’s your first foray into organising an event or you’re a seasoned veteran, it’s important to remember the six ‘P’s; Planning and Preparation Prevent a Pretty Poor Party.

1. Book early to avoid disappointment

It’s never too early to start planning your event. They say the early bird gets the worm, or, in this case; the best dates and a good selection of options. You will also find most venues will offer some form of discounted rate if you book well in advance. Depending on numbers, a good time to start looking if you want the best options available is about 5-6 months before your event. If you have a large group, or if you have very specific dates or activities in mind, then there is no harm in starting the ball rolling even earlier than that.

2. Ask for ideas

You can never please all the people all of the time, so (unless it’s a surprise), ask people what they would like to do. Once you’ve got an idea of what people want to do then narrow it down and give people a couple of choices and ask then to choose. This can be via social media, email or a good old-fashioned poster up in the staff room. Remember to give a deadline for responses, but beware of vote rigging! Once the results are in, it makes sense to go with the majority. If it’s going to be a surprise (and some form of activity) make sure you check with the venue to see if there are any conditions that will stop people taking part. You may also want to think about if anyone doesn’t want to join in, is there something for them to do? Such as a coffee shop or a viewing area so they can watch the others.

3. Lay down the ground rules

Christmas parties can be a great morale booster and a way to say thank you to your team for all their hard work over the previous year. However, to make sure your party is remembered for all the right reasons, you will need to lay down some ground rules. Staff need to be reminded that any work related Christmas event is an extension of the work place and that normal standards of behaviour will still apply. It is good practice to have a policy outlining what is considered to be acceptable and unacceptable behaviour at any company party or event. This can be included with the invite or as a reminder the day before - but do try to remember that parties are supposed to be fun so try and keep guidelines to a minimum. Don’t be a mood hoover…

4. Talk to the venue and pay them a visit

Websites and pictures are great but the old adage “a picture never lies” isn’t always true. Going out to the venue and meeting the event organiser will give you a much better feel for the venue. Make sure they understand what you want to get out of the event. Is it just a social, if there is going to be a theme can you dress the room/building, do you need a meeting room first? If you have any staff with a disability make sure the venue is aware of this and that they can cater for any additional needs they may have. 

5. Get it in writing

Not every venue will have a full blown contract, but even though you may have talked through everything, it is important (for both parties) that you get all the details in writing.  This sets everyone’s expectations of; what your costs are (including payment terms), what’s included in the price, any additional (optional) costs that may be incurred on the day and equally important, what are the timings; what time do you need to be there, when can you expect the event to finish? Do you need to bring/wear anything specific? Making sure you have all this information in writing will prevent any nasty, on-the-day surprises or disappointment.

6. Enjoy

This is the most important part. You’ve put a lot of time and effort in to organising your event. Company parties are supposed to be fun, it is a celebration and reward for everyone’s hard work so make sure you enjoy the day too. If you have followed my top tips, there is nothing else for you to do apart from relax, grab a drink and join in the fun. 

If you’re looking for something a little bit different this year, why not try Indoor Skydiving. It’s super safe, exhilarating and suitable for pretty much everyone and the good news is that iFLY has just launched their Corporate Christmas packages. For more information contact one of the team (don’t forget top tip number 1!). For Manchester, contact Mike on 0161 359 3864, Milton Keynes, contact Rob on 01908 247773 and for Basingstoke, contact Debi on 01256 305294.