Written by Sara McGovern, Junior Account Executive, Litzky Public Relations
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” may be true, but it’s also one of the busiest seasons for work! Q4 in the PR industry is notorious for last minute projects and reports, particularly when it comes to consumer products. While yes, everyone’s in a rush to finish the year and head out for the holidays, it’s important for agency leaders to take a beat and recognize their employees with some sort of end of the year holiday party.
At LPR, our Party Planning Committee (otherwise known as the “PPC”) is an agency staple. The PPC plans exciting events year round, ranging from office happy hours and scavenger hunts to field days and holiday parties. I’ve served on LPR’s PPC for two years (which means two holiday parties!), so today I’ll share my tried-and-true tips for throwing your own fun, engaging and unique holiday party, too!
1. Plan your party for the last day of work
Whether you choose a traditional agency holiday party or opt to close out the year with your own NYE-inspired bash, don’t make the mistake of scheduling your event during the work week (even though weeknight venue costs may be less expensive). We like the idea of scheduling your party for the very last day of work before the office closes down. Much like the last day of school, employees will be truly excited to celebrate and able to enjoy the the moment without worrying about last-minute client work (or too-much-Champagne-head for that 9 am conference call). With no work scheduled for the next day, you’ll have the night open for a post-party after party too!
2. Make it easy to show up
Pick a location close to the office, such as a local restaurant or bar to make it easy and convenient for employees. Depending on the size of your company, you may want to rent out a banquet hall or party room in a restaurant to comfortably fit everyone – which, if you’re in a smaller city like Hoboken, may mean a car ride away. Our LPR group of 25 employees has outgrown our local restaurants, so we venture to nearby towns with larger venues like Jersey City and Edgewater. With that, we always make sure to provide transportation so our employees get safely to and from the venue. Uber’s always worked for us, but you can take it one step further – and fancier! – by renting a party bus or limo if that fits your agency vibe.
3. Feed everyone
Food is half the fun, so be sure to think about menu options that fit everyone’s needs and preferences. One trick is to add a line to the bottom of the party invite RSVP should anyone need further accommodations (noting an allergy, for example) for the menu. Typically, it’s good to have a few vegetarian and vegan options (including fish and strictly vegetarian) along with non-alcoholic beverages for people to choose from.
We always make sure to provide transportation so our employees get safely to and from the venue.
4. Hold a gift exchange
Nothing beats getting – and giving – gifts! To get everyone in the gift-giving spirit, host Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange. Set a reasonable price point so you’re not putting people out. For our Secret Santa, we use Elfster.com, a website that virtually organizes a gift exchange! The best part is that each participant can post their own personal wish list to make it easy to find things that stay well out of the regifting pile.
5. Make it meaningful
Add some fun twists to your party to get everyone involved. This could be going around the table saying what your best moment of the year was, or giving away prizes for the “employee most likely to…” or awards for stellar employees who rocked in 2017. At the close of a year it’s valuable to take some time reflecting on the past and setting the tone for an even better future together.
While cramming in last-minute requests and already “working” on 2018 may have you dreaming of a holiday break away from the office, there’s no better way to start the New Year than one last hoorah celebrating your roster of rock star employees.