It’s that time of year again when rewarding staff and bringing the team together with an office party starts to appear on agendas and to-do lists. Whilst there’s no doubt that organising a Christmas office event brings additional stress and expense (just like tracking down that hard-to find Christmas gift!), getting it right brings greater rewards than you might expect. Read on to see how office Christmas parties help to build a strong team and explore some creative event ideas from London-based corporate hospitality experts, Team Tactics.
Team time…and then some
As well as just being the chance to bring staff teams together to celebrate the season, office Christmas parties can also offer a major boost to how individuals and work teams feel about their work in general and working for their employer specifically, by demonstrating:
- Appreciation – an office party is a great way to say thanks to staff for their work and productivity over the year.
- Entertainment – in contrast to a thrown-at-the-last-minute Christmas event, providing a thoughtfully planned, entertaining gathering provides a welcome reward for staff, but can also encourage loyalty and staff retention for the coming year.
- Community – having opportunity to get everyone together doesn’t always happen often for some businesses, so taking the seasonal opportunity to get everyone together and deliver thanks, rewards, messages, recognition and plans as part of a Christmas event can really bring the work community together with a sense of belonging, something which again supports motivation and staff retention.
- Team – whilst getting everyone together is great, a party is also a very positive platform for getting those who don’t usually work together to mingle and strike up new friendships and working relationships. This team tangent can be particularly nurtured by organising a party which includes team-building activities, to allow staff to create new relationships. Competitive activities also work well for new teams as breaking down tasks also helps to break down barriers.
- Opportunity – team-building activities opportunity for staff to develop skills or experience a different position in the team, a great chance for encouraging leading rather than following or for redefining roles and for getting away from that ‘same old’ way of working – a party in the festive season really helps to draw a line under ‘the old’ and shift the focus forwards.
- Skills – adding in team and individual activities can actually bring an element of training to the fun – and fun to relevant training, for example it’s possible to put a focus on problem-solving and time-management skills in a fun party activity such as a GPS London treasure hunt.
Out of the ordinary – and out of office!
So how can you ensure that this year’s office party delivers such extras as well as the spirit of the season? For one thing, the venue is extremely important and taking time out outside can be the very thing which keeps a team working. Couple this with some seasonal alternatives to the same old eat-drink-circulate and you’ll be delivering something both memorable and motivating…
1) Shop, Chop and Be Merry – office parties are famous for those Christmas tipples which see staff letting their hair down, so cocktail making activities shift easily into the seasonal schedule. Held at a designated bar, a Christmas cocktail making event offers not only a city chic out-of-office venue for creating, as well as raising glasses, but also includes options with the fun of shopping for ingredients. With a full-on buffet included, all the vital ingredients for an imaginative office party are on hand, along with a great team-building cocktail twist.
2) Chisel All the Way – Christmas ice carving workshops are great for team building for 10 to 200 people and can literally be an ice-breaker for new staff or newly assigned teams. One of the strong benefits of this activity is that it’s mobile – but that doesn’t mean it has to come to the office. On the contrary, the workshop can come to any venue such as bar, hotel or conference hall, so that the maximum fun away from the desk can be achieved.
Working together in small teams, staff can carve out new working relationships whilst creating seasonal sculptures and prize-giving / reward activities can also be included after the ice carving, which lasts approximately 60 minutes (before the ice melts)! This can make it a great (and subtle) alternative to dry old ‘time-management’ training as teams (and individuals) work against the clock to achieve results.
3) Christmas Party Bus – a party bus could be the most entertaining thing you can do for a Christmas Party; travelling through the city in style on your very own private bus. The karaoke system and fully stocked cocktail and champagne bar complete the experience aboard the luxurious party bus designed with entertaining in mind.
4) Santa’s Day in the Country – outdoor team building activities can provide innovative and memorable alternatives to staffroom office parties. For starters, events take place in stunning countryside and include activities such as rage buggies, quad obstacle courses and sport trials cars. Of course, refreshments including a three course lunch also form part of the day’s schedule along with a prize giving for the day’s races – which can also be adapted to include your own business rewards and celebrations.
This type of team alternative also highlights staff importance because paying your staff to be away from their desks for a whole day to celebrate the season with a fun day of play offers a clear signal to staff that their contributions are valued and appreciated.
5) Yuletide Treasure Hunts – explore your city by completing fun festive challenges including location based trivia and photo challenges. Complete with comical festive hats, this is a great way to explore your city at its Christmassy best.
Finally, any employer who has doubts about affordability of a Christmas party may also want to consider the high costs of the negativity generated by not having a Christmas party. Just as a party will be appreciated and remembered throughout the coming year, so will a Scrooge-effect, so it’s useful to know that staff parties at Christmas can also be tax deductible, making a generous gesture not only memorable and motivating for staff, but also cost-effective.
Want more ideas for your meetings and events? Have a look at our blog here for 10 creatives ideas to promote your corporate events. Or if you’re looking for advice on how technology can bring more value to your events, please get in touch here.