IRL End-of-Year Celebrations
If you are organising an end-of-year celebration for a small to mid-size business situated in one location, then hosting your office party IRL is a must. If this is the case, you have likely already decided on your location and have selected a hotel conference room, restaurant or meeting space. Get creative! Think how you can elevate the space into somewhere relaxed and inviting, and get in touch with the venue's function manager to assist.
Online and Hybrid End-of-Year Celebrations
Things become a little more complicated, as they now often are when people work remotely or from different cities and often with different time zones! Don't despair; there are various formats your office party could take. Some companies adopt an IRL party in each business location to ensure people can catch up. In the first and last moments of the get-together, connect the parties via video conference on a huge screen.
If needs must, and you have to run an online party, separate yourself from Zoom fatigue and consider a video-calling space that lets multiple people simultaneously hold separate conversations. Applications such as Gather and Element are free and Open Source; they aren't the same as a real-life gathering, but they certainly offer a better experience.
Just like a traditional party, you can theme the space, have a relaxed start time and, on arrival, allow people to explore the space, then chat with someone of their choosing without entering into an embarrassing wall of faces. This style of gathering is also applicable to Hybrid end-of-year gatherings. Although people should be encouraged to attend face-to-face if possible, sending custom party boxes from companies such as SnackNation to remote workers that reflect what is on offer at the live venue is a great way of involving people who can't attend.
Informal Kick-off - a time to mingle
Planning and structure are the keys to a successful End of Year gathering that is raved about by all. Start thinking about the start of the event. It's a good idea to kick off a face-to-face end-of-year gathering informally, giving people time to chat, laugh and mingle. You can adopt this with a hybrid or online office party too.
It's popular for in-house meeting planners of Fortune 500 companies to profile party attendees. They consider how they will feel in the first 5-10 minutes of entering the gathering, ensure they plan the experience and give pre-party information to reduce anxiety and increase a sense of inclusion. This may seem a little over the top, but simply putting yourself in the shoes of someone entering a gathering for the first time will help you design your IRL or online party in a way that decreases feelings of awkwardness.