There's nothing like a summer office party to boost moral and give your employees a chance to relax and get to know one another. However, planning a summer party can be a little trick at first glance. After all, summertime events tend to have a more relaxed and casual feel than their holiday counterparts. Walking the line between cutting loose and staying professional can be a challenge for attendees and planners alike. Fortunately, as long as you have the right atmosphere for your office and plenty of engaging elements, your party is sure to be a smash hit! Here are a few tips that can help you make your summer bash picture-perfect:
Lock down the budget early
One of the most stressful mistakes an office-party planner can make is starting on decisions before the budget it set. It's easy to get carried away by exciting details, but you may end up dedicating time and effort to ideas that are ultimately unfeasible for your event. That's not the only reason to lock down the party's price tag well in advance, however – the earlier you have that information settled, the more time you'll have to search for good deals. If you're unsure how much you can spend until just before the event, you may find yourself paying last-minute prices for things like the venue and entertainment. If there's something getting in the way of finalizing the budget, you can still get things started. Come up with a few different party scenarios based on the range your budget will fall under.
When you place your large-group catering order, don't be afraid to have a little bit of fun with the food and drink. Since summer parties tend to be a little bit more laid-back than their winter counterparts, it's a great opportunity to go a little adventurous with the food choices. That said, focus on choosing refreshing snacks, meals and appetizers. Summer can leave people feeling hot and sticky, even when they're indoors. If you are having an outdoor event, however, it's even more important to have light meals that won't weigh people down or warm them up. Shoot for cool drinks and crisp appetizers.
"Make sure your summer party's tone suits your office."
Match the tone
Office parties are not a one-size-fits-all affair. An office with napping couches is going to need an entirely different event than an office with a suits-only dress code. A good rule of thumb for a summer party is to shoot for one to two levels of formality lower than your day-to-day atmosphere. More dramatic drops in formality might inadvertently signal to employees that all bets are off. Although you definitely want your employees to feel they can relax at an event, sticking close to your usual routine will help remind people to keep things professional.
The easiest way to make sure everyone has a good time at your office party? Build some fun right into the schedule. Find room in the budget for entertainment. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, it just has to be enjoyable. The more interactive you can make it, the better – it's a lot easier for people from different departments to bond over giant Jenga than it is for them to strike up a conversation cold. Need an idea that won't break the bank? Make a co-worker fun facts scavenger hunt people can fill out for a prize.