The holiday season is fast approaching, which means two things: business is about to ramp up, and people are about to burn out. There’s a reason companies hold appreciation parties in the holiday season, other than the obvious fact that the season lends itself to merriment; throwing a party is the best way to manage morale amid what is often a stressful few months.
The only problem is that many companies lack the cash flow to properly boost morale. The more reasonably priced halls and clubs tend to book up lightning quick, leaving everyone else to sort through the various overpriced options left. That is, if you subscribe to the belief that a company party needs to be “conventional”.
If you want to throw a fun, memorable party, but lack the robust funds of a big business, you have to think outside the box. Below, you’ll find creative ways to work around the big budget company party, and come up with something that will show employees your appreciation without draining the company coffers.
Venue & Entertainment
If you can combine the venue and the entertainment, you’ve already saved yourself a lot of money. Instead of just renting out a hall, which you then have to fill with entertaining activities or experiences, opt for an entertainment venue.
A good example here would be axe throwing – it’s housed in a wide-open venue, often licensed for drinks (though you will have to double check) and it centers on an exciting, interactive activity. Normally, you would think to try axe throwing with your friends rather than your work colleagues, but that’s exactly the appeal; it is informal, and the exhilaration around the sport brings people together. It’s also fully accessible, so, unlike other activities, you won’t have to worry about it alienating certain guests.
Food & Drinks
Most venues offer their own food and drinks, and if you can come up with the requisite cash, that’s a good idea (people like to feel catered to). But, if you want to stretch your dollar, consider starting the staff party at the office with a few ordered-in items. Something like pizza – the ubiquitous office party standard – works well because it’s cheap, universally liked and can be customized around nearly any dietary restriction (thank the boom in vegan and gluten free pizza options for this).
As for drinks, which can get pricey when an open bar is involved, consider offering drink tickets. This allows you to budget in advance, and ensures that if a few employees want to continue the party well into the night, they do so on their own dime. Employees will still appreciate the gesture, and you will have saved a good deal of money.
Invites & Transportation
Invites are simple: save on card stock and just email the team. In the internet age, not only is this more common, it’s actually preferred, since employees can easily transfer the details to their calendar.
Finally, to do your due diligence, think about the transportation home. There’s no way around the fact that, in order to dissuade drinking and driving, you should either offer taxi chits or set up a sober carpool.
Employees won’t disparage you for wanting to save money. After all, saving money benefits the entire organization. And if you spend your money right, on an exciting venue, good food and a couple drinks apiece, everyone will have a great time.