Rallying your employees into one location for non-work-related fare can be a struggle, but once you get them there, you’ll want to design a work party so entertaining it will be a breeze getting them to attend future gatherings. From staff appreciation parties and holiday events to Halloween extravaganzas and luaus, there are so many themes, foods, games, and decorations to choose from.
Organizing an event your employees can’t wait to attend may seem intimidating, but don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with the ultimate guide to what employees really want at a work party including popular themes, cuisine, games, decor, and tips.
Who doesn’t love movies? Plus, films provide an opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy a few snacks. Transform the break room into a movie theater by renting a projector and arranging the chairs into rows. Send out a list of four to five movies and have employees vote on which they are most interested in viewing, enabling them to have a say in the event. Create a candy counter with popcorn, soft drinks, and movie theater candy. Add movie-related decors such as a red carpet, balloon arch to walk under, and film reel tableware.
Throwback Thursday can be a party theme. Have your employees vote on a decade and ask staff to arrive in the fashion of that era. Create a playlist with music from the era. Set the mood by arranging the most popular snacks and games from that period. Decor should take your team back in time. For instance, for a 1970s party, hang a disco ball, or, for the 1960s, add posters of flowers and peace signs to the walls.
Whether it’s Halloween or your workers just enjoy dressing up in funky fashions, a costume party offers a ton of fun and laughs. Either choose a particular costume theme such as superhero or cartoon character or let your employees get creative with an open-ended option. Hold a costume contest, awarding the most creative, funniest, most realistic, and most terrifying.
Finger foods are a great work party food idea because these appetizers enable your staff to pick at food throughout the event. Some of the most popular finger foods include popovers, mini meatballs, chips and dip, crostini, charcuterie, sliders, flatbreads, mini grilled cheeses in tomato soup, deviled eggs, pretzel bites, and more.
Ensure there is something for everyone by offering a variety of cuisines with buffet-style food stations such as:
There always seems to be cake in the office, so it’s time to amp up the dessert creativity. Set up an ice cream sundae bar, create-your-own donut station, or a make-your-own s’mores bar. Other fun ideas include an ice cream bar food truck, a cotton candy machine, or a donut wall. Each of these has an interactive element sure to entertain guests while satisfying their sweet tooth.
If your employees are trivia buffs, this game is a great way to have your staff tap into their competitive side. Split your workers into teams, then ask each team questions based on categories ranging from movies to sports to history. Give points to the teams who get the questions right and reward the winning team with a prize.
One game sure to get a ton of laughs is Pictionary. Have your employees showcase their artistic abilities by drawing movies, television shows, books, iconic cartoons, or basic household items. Ask your staff to guess what the picture is until they yell out the right answer.
A fun way to express your appreciation is by turning gift-giving into a game. Have each employee draw a raffle ticket then have them choose from a table of gifts as you call their numbers. This makes for a fun and interactive surprise.
A group scavenger hunt is a great team-building activity with a competitive edge. Split your staff into groups, provide a list of items you hid around the office, set a timer, and let them run around looking for all the trinkets you hid. They can be as simple as typical office items or gift cards and treats.
Station a grand balloon arch at the door so your employees feel special as soon as they walk into the office or break room. Add balloon garland in company or party-theme colors to create a festive environment. Add customized letter balloons to spell out a message to your workers, or whimsical mylars to incite excitement.
Print a celebratory banner with phrases of appreciation such as “Thank you for all your hard work,” “Our team is the best,” or “ We appreciate all you do.” Create signs that welcome guests into the party and showcase the party’s menu or cocktail list, the theme, or the activity schedule.
Ensure your tableware—plastic or paper cups, plates, napkins, and utensils—matches your staff party’s theme. For instance, if you’re holding a Halloween party, find orange and black tableware with images of spiders or cobwebs.
Your employees are busy outside of work hours. They have family obligations, social events, and other personal appointments. By hosting a work party outside of office hours, employees may have to forgo attending other functions or may RSVP “no.” That’s why it’s recommended celebrations be held during office hours. This ensures all can attend and staff members are given an extended break.
For the introverts on your staff and cynical team members, relieve stress by clarifying some common questions about the party. When sending out the invitation, let staff know how long the party will last, whether families are invited, if alcohol will be present, and the attire expectations. If you choose to hold the event during office hours, reassure employees they won’t need to stay late to make up missed work time.
Before delving into the details, it’s important you consider your staff’s personalities (introvert or extrovert) and the office culture. A few questions to ask yourself: Is your team formal or informal? Would they be interested in getting competitive or would they rather team-building exercises? Will employees want their families in attendance? Send a survey around, inquiring about particular details to find out which garner the most excitement.
Use work parties—whether employee appreciation or holiday—to display your gratitude for your staff’s hard work throughout the year. Showing appreciation can be in the form of gift-giving, end-of-the-year bonuses, or—if these aren’t in the budget—expressed through words. Schedule time for shout-outs and special recognitions.
Reflect on Success
Work parties are the perfect opportunity to reflect on the year’s successes. Give a speech or present a slideshow highlighting the goals your team helped you achieve. Mention successful initiative and attained KPIs. Officially thank your team for their efforts and recognize they are the reason your organization is so strong.
Make your next work party extra-special with Hudson Event Design. From balloon arches to garlands, columns, and walls, our balloon artists can create decorations that are sure to express your appreciation. Our team can spell out phrases like “Thank You” and design photo-worthy backdrops with balloons guaranteed to impress your staff.
Design your work party decor today!
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