As the official office party planner, you have a big job. Let’s face it, office parties have a reputation for being awkward, uncomfortable or even inappropriate. Your primary objective is to create an environment where your co-workers stop talking about work and start interacting as friends. Pulling this off requires some very careful planning with lots of great food, games and personalized party accessories! To help you with the tall task of planning the office holiday party (or any office party!), we’ve created a complete Office Party Planning Checklist.
Before we begin, let’s review the BAM rule of workplace parties…
Boss – Your boss is still your boss.
Alcohol – Pace yourself! Too much is not a good idea for this setting.
Monday – Remember, you’re going to have to go back to the office!
This BAM rule for how to conduct yourself at an office party is pretty self-explanatory. You want to wake up the next day and think BAM! what a wonderful experience. Not, BAM—what have I done, I can never go back.
TWO MONTHS before the office party
[ ] Form a party planning committee, choose a theme and delegate the following responsibilities: food and drinks, games, prizes, decorations, a setup crew and clean up crew
[ ] Set a date and reserve the party venue
[ ] Get a final budget from your boss (Tip: Go into the meeting with an idea of what you'd like to purchase and how much it will cost. Looking for some ways to cut costs? Check out these 8 Cheap Catering Ideas.)
[ ] Reserve party tents, tables and chairs
[ ] Make arrangements with a caterer and/or bar service
[ ] Other entertainment to consider: DJ or band, karaoke machine, photo booth, games
ONE MONTH before the office party
[ ] Send out party invitations (Tip: these should include the date and time; if spouses and/or children also invited; food and drink details; the dress code or theme; door prizes, games and other exciting details!)
[ ] Plan party decorations and table centerpieces
[ ] Design and order personalized napkins, coasters and cups from For Your Party
THREE WEEKS before the office party
[ ] Create a food and drink menu
[ ] Write out a grocery list if anything is not being provided by the caterer
[ ] Meet with the party planning committee to brainstorm fun games and icebreakers
[ ] Order party favors and door prizes—office swag doesn't count!
TWO WEEKS before the office party
[ ] Send out an email reminding coworkers of the party
[ ] Make name tags, a seating chart and custom place cards
[ ] Create a party playlist for the DJ—ask coworkers for their input!
[ ] Order a custom cake or cupcakes from your favorite bakery and design custom take-home cake boxes for leftovers
ONE WEEK before the office party
[ ] Check in with the venue, caterer and other vendors to confirm everything is all set
[ ] Pick up business cards from a local cab company, or partner with a rideshare app to provide for guests' transportation
ONE-TWO DAYS before the office party
[ ] Head to the venue for any pre-event setup like decorations, tables and chairs
[ ] Be sure there are several trash and recycling bins available with extra bags
[ ] Pick up any food, drinks or supplies that are still on the list to be purchased
[ ] Ask (or beg ?) the boss to let everyone out of work a few hours early
OFFICE PARTY TIME
[ ] Send out a final email reminding everyone about the party
[ ] Label any coolers and fill with plenty of ice
[ ] Check bathrooms for toilet paper, paper towels, custom matchbooks, toothpicks, etc.
[ ] Set out food, cups, napkins, plates and utensils
[ ] Last minute prep that needs to be done for music, games and entertainment
[ ] Enjoy yourself and take lots of photos!