It’s that festive time of year when everyone over commits and spends an abnormal amount of time with people they rarely see the rest of the year. To add to the chaos of the season every company decides now is the time to throw an annual party. Here is the big question, is this something that is looked forward to by all or just another obligation that is hard to get out of? Or, maybe the better question is how to throw a party that people don’t want to avoid?
This is on top of mind because last night was the Moceri Construction holiday party. It is a tradition that has been going on for as long as I can remember so we surly are not going to stop but every year picking the location, food, entertainment, etc. is a process that starts sometime in September trying to improve on the previous year. I see them as an important way to build a culture in a business. They allow for bonding outside of work that normally may not happen. It is one of maybe a couple times a year when significant others are a part of the company and most importantly it is a way of owners to show their appreciation to the team.
Back to the questions. Do people want to be at them? I have to say I have been on both ends of it when I have felt obligated to go for a place that Lindsey or I was working. Some were fun and something I looked forward to and others were horrible and awkward where I spent the whole time looking for an escape route. It has been quite a while since I have gone to someone else’s so as the person creating this obligation, I am constantly asking how do we make our company parties a place people want to be.
I am going to admit that we have had our hits and our misses. Location is a big part of it. Is the space to small or to big? Both create problems. Do people like the food? Does the food show up on time? Are there dietary restrictions? The hardest one of all is entertainment. We have done gift exchanges, trivia, bingo, minute to win it games, nothing, yard games, all with limited success.
So as this year approached we once again were struggling with what to do. We changed up locations and it turned out be a great size and feel, the caterer crushed it, we had some games available but didn’t force anything, and I kept the speech short and sweet. I basically just said thank you which sometimes is all people really want to hear. I am happy to say that I think it was our best company party yet. People hung around for longer then ever and really seemed to be enjoying themselves. I can’t take much credit for it because Elke in our office took care of all the details. What we did decide as a group though was to keep it simple this year and let it be what it is. A way to show your appreciation to the team and time for everyone to interact away from the stresses of work.
If you are the one attending, then good luck, if you are the one hosting don’t over think it and don’t make it awkward and boring. Let it be what it is without trying to force people to have fun. With good food, good drinks, and most importantly good people the fun will take care of itself. Good luck this holiday season and party on!