Summer Office Party Primer

June 17th, 2010 by

A summer party can be nice benefit for employees if done right.  Too often however, the party meant to be a morale booster and “thank you for a job well done” ends up creating tension and stress for all concerned, which is never a benefit.  Here are are some HR best practices to make your event a success.

1)  Don’t be fixated on having a party for the sake of having a party.  Each organization has its own style so make sure what you do is perceived as something fun not just another work obligation.  Too often executive management will dictates the type of the event without considering what the employees would really like.  If you don’t know what employees would prefer- take a simple survey of what type of party or alternative event would be most popular.   Some alternatives including offering everyone 2-4 extra hours of paid time off, working together to complete a project for a local charity or a gift certificate to a summer event they can use with their significant others.  Whatever you do should be perceived as a benefit by the majority of the employees.

2) Get out of the the office!  If you are having a party have it at offsite.  The local park is always a good option but make sure you reserve space with your local parks and rec department.

3) Friday afternoon is the ideal time for a summer office party if you can afford to close your office for the afternoon. Employees are not always thrilled to give up weekend time for work events- and make no mistake that even if you call this a party it is a work event.

4) Plan activities to keep people mixing and moving.  If you are inviting families this is even more important.  Set up volleyball net or have a water balloon toss, consider a scavenger hunt.  Again, make sure that the employees are doing something they enjoy.  Don’t force the issue- if somebody just wants to sit and observe the fun with a cold drink in hand- let them.

5) Carefully consider the question of should you serve alcohol.  For more information on the legal liability of alcohol at a company party check out this earlier post.

Have fun!

Join the conversation: Will you be having a summer office party or an alternative event?

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