I know, I know, it’s only October and already everyone’s talking Christmas! But rather than being bah humbug about it all, you really need to invest the time and care into your planning. IT IS a big deal to your staff and, handled correctly, goes a long way to motivate and create a real feel good factor around your business. So here are our top tips for putting on a good Christmas do.
Do book early!
If you haven’t already, make booking your venue this week’s number one task. Think about what kind of event you want; something traditional and suitably festive or something more quirky and/or intimate? Will food be involved and location wise, what will suit the majority of your guests? You can use the Internet for inspiration or alternatively use venue search sites like www.hirespace.com who can take some of the legwork out of it. Alternatively, Queen Bee PA can kick-start the process with ideas and venues to suit various party sizes and budgets.
Don’t try and accommodate everyone
When agreeing a date, it will be virtually impossible to find one that will suit all. And you can drive yourself mad trying to do so. Circulate a choice of dates and settle on the one that’s the most popular. www.doodle.com is a brilliant tool for facilitating this as it quickly filters out the dates most people can make. Accept that not everyone will be able to make it and consider instead a gesture to those who can’t such as a bottle of bubbles – you want them to know that their presence will be missed, but you have to be practical. Get it in diaries straight away and have fun with the countdown reminders to build up the excitement and anticipation.
Don’t forget to actually ‘invite’
It is good practice to distribute official invites (even if only on email). People enjoy the build-up and understanding what’s happening, especially if a theme of fancy dress is involved. Give them as many details as possible including timings, location and crucially whether partners are invited. Not only does it save any misunderstandings but also prevents a multitude of questions coming your way. We can help create these, whether you want something designed and printed or set up as an e-attachment. It’s a big occasion on the business calendar and worth the effort.
Do print off a copy of everyone’s meal order
Who can remember on the 18th December what they chose on the 15th October? Pull everyone’s choices into a simple spreadsheet against their name which you can send straight on to the venue for a fuss free order. Then on the day in question, print off a copy to take out with you and jog everyone’s memory. Make sure you are aware of anyone who has specific dietary requirements or allergies and give the venue plenty of notice of these.
Do liaise with the venue/event planner
Don’t try and do everything yourself. Larger venues usually have event planners who will be your dedicated point of contact who will not only make sure everything is considered but co-ordinate things in the run up and during the event, leaving you to enjoy the occasion yourself. An event planning company like www.makeevents.co.uk can also be a worthwhile investment even for small gatherings, using their expertise to bring a touch of the extra special to your annual celebration.
Do make it special
It is but once a year. Unlike other staff or client night’s out, Christmas do’s carry with them a lot of expectation. People are in the mood to celebrate and are looking for that little bit extra. You could go the whole hog and incorporate a fun activity or team building exercise in the afternoon or it could be as simple as a few Christmassy dressing up props to hand out over dinner. Whatever you decide, make it different from your regular nights out. Concierge services like those offered by www.uktogether.co.uk can help you source hard-to-come-by tickets for shows, giving you and your team a VIP experience to remember (though get your skates on!!!) and if you’re entertaining clients, small gestures like goody bags or gifts can go down well; don’t miss the branding opportunity! We can help source, personalise and wrap any of your corporate gift requirements.
Don’t expect everyone to work until 5.30
C’mon scrooge, night’s out take serious preparation you know! Be flexible with your finish time and give people the opportunity to feel and look their best.
Do think about transport
Hopefully you have considered where people live when choosing the location of your Christmas do, but not everyone will find it as easy to get to or face a hefty bill in a taxi home. Consider whether your budget will stretch to providing accommodation or a mini-bus. Services like www.streetcarsmanchester.co.uk or www.uber.com will allow you to set up a corporate account which all staff can use on the night in question. If you can’t afford this luxury, don’t worry (it is a luxury!) but do go the extra mile to provide them with taxi numbers, last train times or see where guests might double up and share.
Do have a plan
If your Christmas do has everything happening under one roof, then this is less applicable to you, but very often small businesses will choose to take their staff to a restaurant and need to think about what happens next. Wandering aimlessly around the centre of town in silly heels, sat in freezing cold queues or jostling with other merry-makers trying to get in places can be an immediate mood-killer. Take a look at nearby bars/clubs and get a rough plan together. It doesn’t matter if events take a different course, but by knowing admission policies or booking booths in advance, you have a better chance of your party staying together and in a good mood!
Do take pictures/video
Just one rule of thumb here. Any pictures that you want to use to promote the company in any way (social media included) should be taken early on in the proceedings. They can be a great promotional tool to present the personality of the company BUT put a deadline on it. After 8pm (or earlier if the drinking started late afternoon) DO NOT tweet/post/share, no matter how much fun you’re having. Put your phone away!
BONUS TIPS!!! Morning after the night before…
Don’t arrange ANY meetings on the following day
No, not one. If anyone comes into the office, the first impressions will be poor as staff lollop about the office. And don’t be tempted to meet anyone off site either. Lack of sleep and boozy breath will not make for a positive meeting.
Do manage deadlines
Move them. You don’t want to be finishing a presentation or reviewing work the day after the big night. Plan in advance, manage expectations and organise workflow.
Do expect a lull in productivity
You’d be a pretty tough boss (or extremely naïve one) to expect a full and productive day following a Christmas do. You can be clear that everyone is still expected to work but relax the start time perhaps. Encourage staff to take holidays if they’d prefer, but for those who choose to soldier on, consider a round of bacon sandwiches and leave McDonald’s ‘vouchers’ on people’s desks. Sometimes, the day after reflecting on last night’s antics can be as much fun!
And don’t forget, if you need help we’re here! Get in touch.