Put some thought into your Christmas party

The Christmas party is a good way of showing your appreciation for your employees' efforts during the year. Damian Clarkson gives some tips on preparation.

As the managing director of an event catering company corporate Christmas parties are high on our agenda at this time of year. We get involved in all sorts of events from a simple lunch buffet to prestigious dinners for hundreds of employees.

Some of our clients see the office party as a chore and something that has to be endured. Others, the more innovative bosses, recognise it as an opportunity to deepen relationships with their team and to recognise the work carried out over the year.

Which camp do you fall into?

First thing to remember is that currently the Revenue allows £150 allowance for each employee. So there is an immediate incentive to be able to lay on something special.

We have noticed that some of our clients allow the team themselves to choose, within reason, the sort of event they would like to enjoy. It makes sense really to ask them what they would like. Not much point in splashing out in an expensive function if the majority of the team would like bowling and a curry. It may be a good idea to send round a list of options from which the team can choose what they would like to do.

If you are arranging for the caterers to come in, make sure you speak to your caterer about the type of people who will be attending and ask their advice. Give them a realistic budget and spend some time going through the options. Get a good mix of savoury and sweet and maybe look at something that follows a theme that would suit the workforce. Obviously this will differ if you have a team of five or 500. Judgements have to be made.

Themed parties always go down well and allow staff to let their hair down a bit. After all, it is only once a year! It’s the time of year to find out a little bit more about the people you work with each and every day. You never know, you could uncover some hidden talents!

It’s Christmas and that means the drink will flow. An added treat could be that you arrange for taxis or even overnight stays in hotels, depending on the budget available. It takes the temptation to drive away and keeps your employees from making disastrous choices.

You could even consider giving them the next day off, or maybe sanction a late start. A really welcome treat the next day could be bacon butties as they arrive.

I would suggest that putting effort and thought into the office/staff party is a great way to show your appreciation. It is something I like to do with my staff. It’s the one time of year that I can spoil them all and let them know that their hard work and dedication is something that I appreciate all year round.

Further reading on Christmas

D Clarkson

Damian Clarkson

Damian is the MD and Founder of The London Kitchen and a consultant working with hospitality sector companies.

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