October 28, 2021

11 Tips (and a Checklist) for Planning The Best, Covid-Safe Corporate Party

Not everyone loves them, but most businesses hold holiday parties. They're a fantastic chance to de-stress and unwind if done correctly. If you've been assigned to organize your company's annual staff Christmas party, your objective should be to make the most of your event while keeping expenses under control. 

You can provide an experience that not only improves company morale but also employee satisfaction and general happiness. 

Before you start planning and conducting events, it's critical to focus on the basics: what theme should the party have, where should it happen, how many guests are coming, when is it scheduled to begin, and so on.

It’s hard to talk about parties without mentioning the C word - Covid. Ensuring your party follows any government defined rules and regulations is essential to keep everyone at the event safe - which should be your highest priority, outside of keeping them entertained.

1 - Sorting the Basics for Your Holiday Company Party

The essential components of every great celebration are necessary, but not everything has to be set in stone before you begin locking in the specifics (such as booking a venue, hiring a caterer, or preparing an agenda).

There are several methods to go about these issues, and higher-level ideas like theme and timing frequently fall on corporate executives rather than the event producer, but it's better to collaborate with a group to determine which aspects are appropriate for your company. 

2 - Ensuring a Covid-Friendly Event

Whilst the corporate party should be a time for celebrating and letting your hair down, we do still need to be mindful of the Covid-19 pandemic and any regulations that will apply.

Unfortunately for many events, Covid-19 has been an extremely difficult obstacle to navigate - from ensuring a venue offers Covid-friendly options and follows protocols, to ensuring your guests and staff all stay safe throughout.

Speak to the venue hosts to get a good idea of what they can and can’t do and make sure you brief your staff members too. 

As a reminder, any corporate entertainment that we provide will follow any Covid-19 rules and regulations, and the acts will be properly tested before arriving at your venue.

Covid friendly staff
It's important to ensure your party follows any specific Covid-19 regulations

3 - Choosing the Best Time for the Corporate Party

The ideal time to have an employee holiday party is usually during the lunch hour. There's been a rising trend in this direction, with many corporate events taking place during the lunch hour across the globe.

Unfortunately, not everyone may attend the event since someone must remain back to take client calls and keep operations moving. A lunch-hour event, on the other hand, helps to lower expenses while also reducing employees' personal time and commitments.

You'll need to evaluate which night is best for an event if you select one. While some people believe that Friday is the ideal evening since most workers are off for the weekend, it's also the most popular day of the week at restaurants and other places— that is, when compared to other days.

Because many organizations will want to avoid Sunday evening, Monday night appears to be the next best alternative, as it is usually the slowest night at restaurants. This makes it a more affordable choice.

4 - Consider Hosting a Party in the Off-Season

Staff might be a bit tired of having the usual Christmas or Thanksgiving party, so why not plan an event to celebrate an employee when nothing else is occupying the work calendar or when morale might be low?

October and January are excellent months to have an annual appreciation party. Off-site locations are more accessible during an off-season event, so you can save money on food and entertainment costs.

Another disadvantage of having an annual appreciation party rather than a regular Christmas gathering is that employees may not be as familiar with it. To ensure that people remember it, you might need to add a little more excitement. That's where some of our corporate entertainers come into play!

5 - Selecting the Right People to Help Run the Event

The quality of your planning team is directly linked to the end product of your event. It's critical to get the appropriate amount of individuals and pick people that are good at creating a memorable occasion.

The planning of an event is typically a lengthy and costly process that may be made more efficient and inexpensive by having a smaller group of people take care of it. Many organizations, on the other hand, utilize a large group to ensure that as many employees' voices are heard as possible during the planning process. Don't forget that party planning will consume time away from workers.

You should choose team members based on the potential to positively affect other workers, regardless of their size. Appointment to the planning team may also be offered as a thank you or incentive. The organization's event planner should work with an authorized leader in human resources or marketing—maybe someone who can approve the plan—to assist make these selections.

6 - Getting the Holiday Party Menu Right

When it comes to deciding what to serve your staff during your holiday party, a variety of strategies may help you save money while still providing a wonderful dinner. Plated meals are frequently more cost-effective than buffets, and they offer for a far more elegant presentation than having everyone line up and serve themselves.

Of course, your menu must support the event's theme, and you should aim to select foods that are similar to or incorporate your event colors or logo. However, this does not necessitate renting costly holiday tablecloths and other décor.

Choosing inexpensive things or fresh fruit for centerpieces, limiting alcohol consumption, and holding the event at a location with normal holiday decorations and food pricing alternatives are all good methods to save money while still providing your workers with a nice experience.

Party venue with food
Choosing the right food - and venue - is vital to the success of your party!

7 - Take a Clear Stance on Alcoholic Drinks

For years, businesses have restricted the amount of alcohol available at Christmas parties for a variety of reasons. This limit is one of the simplest methods to keep expenses in check while also avoiding distractions from the event's message.

Still, the majority of employees do not want to attend a party where there is no alcohol. As a result, you'll want to make your booze choices more narrow or even develop a few cocktails to lower prices and keep intoxication levels low. Ensure there are non-alcoholic drinks available for those who choose not to drink, for whatever reasons.

If you choose to go through with this, there are a few things to keep in mind. You might want to limit the menu to only wine, close the bar early, or just provide beverages during the meal to save money and minimize the chance of employees getting out of hand at a corporate event. 

8 - Remind Employees of Their Responsibilities

The most useful piece of advice for everyone who goes to a holiday gathering is to keep in mind basic etiquette. However, it's also a good idea to set down any particular rules ahead of time in an office-wide letter.

Avoid the following etiquette blunders at the holiday gathering: excessive drinking, , complaining, showing up too early or leaving very, very late, inappropriate attire, and bringing too many guests—all of which can not only influence others' experiences at the event but also company expenses.

While an annual company holiday party is intended to bring the workplace together and lower inhibitions, remind your guests that they continue to represent the business even when attending this post-work event, and that they are therefore obligated to conduct themselves in a way acceptable for the workplace.

9 - Staff Gift Exchanges (like Secret Santa)

Lots of businesses have a gift exchange at their holiday parties. However, if the company is larger, it may be best to limit this to departmental rather than all-employee events. Organizing something on this kind of scale might be challenging, especially if you're unfamiliar with various departments and their workers.

However, if there is a gift exchange, it's a good idea to put a financial cap on the gifts—perhaps £10—to prevent unpleasant situations due to price disputes.

Also, establishing a "white elephant" or other type of all-inclusive gift exchange that allows each employee to participate on an individual basis may assist avoid company meltdowns caused by one guest not receiving a present because another failed to bring one.

Secret Santa
Add some excitement with a Secret Santa gift exchange for your colleagues

10 - Adding a Fundraiser Aspect to the Corporate Party

In certain workplaces, food, clothing, and toy drives are common practices. Some even encourage cash donation drives. Still, consider whether your company-wide employee appreciation party is the best place to solicit money for a charity.

While it's great to single out a particular reason for the Christmas party, it may be more useful for the organization to encourage only noncash gifts and in-kind donations that can help the charity. Everyone is allowed to give a gift at a price that reflects their own budget.

11 - Consider Sponsorships for Your Event to Reduce Costs

Some people may believe that hiring sponsored vendors to offset the costs of their yearly holiday gathering is a smart idea; yet event planners and their clients might want to concentrate on the party's primary goal of thanking staff rather than outsourcing expenses to sponsored vendors.

Employees frequently believe that special events should be paid for out of an employer's operating budget. If the company is unable to fund an appreciation event for its staff or if it isn't a part of the business plan for any reason, then it shouldn't seek outside funding to cover the expense through sponsorships. 

So - consider this last option carefully before you jump in to any kind of sponsorship deals!

Need Entertainment for your Corporate Party?

Don't forget - the right party entertainment is just a few clicks (or a phone call!) away!
CorporateParty.co.uk are the experts in picking out the right entertainers for your big party, whether you want live music, performers, or something a bit different - we've got you covered.

Company Party checklist PDF

Download the PDF Checklist: Planning your next Company Holiday Party

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