Times are tough, and the traditions of years past might seem like luxuries now. Businesses have to carefully decide how to spend their money. This year, throwing a big office holiday party may qualify as an expense that not everyone can afford. From renting a space to paying for food, party budgets can quickly spiral out of control.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can trim costs on your traditional office party to make it more affordable. Or, if a party isn’t even an option for your budget this year, there are certainly other ways to celebrate with your employees besides going all-out and planning an extravagant company gala.
Here are a few tips and alternatives to consider as you begin planning how you’ll celebrate the holidays this year.
1. Skip the DJ.
Rather than shelling out for a DJ or band, make a digital playlist for your party. If your music selection is lacking, ask the most passionate music aficionado in your office if they could craft one.
2. Make it potluck.
Save on food by doing things potluck-style. Have everyone in the office agree to bring a light appetizer, with specific individuals scheduled to bring salad and dessert. Or, create a list of necessary courses, and have people sign up for what they want to contribute. The company should still supply the drinks.
3. Don’t rent out a space.
Instead of renting out a restaurant or bar, hold the party at the office after-hours. Set up an area for drinks and food, toss up a few decorations and throw on music: instant party. If you’re looking for a more intimate setting, you could throw the party in your home or in the home of an employee who is willing to host. Either way you’ll be saving big bucks on the rental cost by holding the party in a space that’s free.
4. Host an in-office lunch instead of throwing a traditional evening party.
Rather than planning an evening event, order in a delicious spread and offer your employees a long afternoon lunch. You can spice things up by playing some games, voting on superlatives, or doing an inexpensive gift exchange at this time. You’ll save on the party expenses that can really add up, like alcohol and a venue rental; but your employees will still enjoy having the extra social time, a yummy company-sponsored meal, and a break from work. Plus, this plan might actually be preferable for those who’d rather not spend extra time outside the office with their coworkers.
5. Make an office donation to a local charity rather than spending money on a party.
Your company could decide to donate the money it would have spent on a party to a local charity instead, as described by Dan Voorhius of the Wichita Eagle. Have employees vote on what cause they’d like to support and send it in the company’s name.
6. Offer the ultimate holiday gift: paid time off.
Joyce Rosenberg of the Associated Press suggests giving your employees the best present of all: time off. Close down the office for an extra half-day one Friday towards the end of the year. There’s no better gift that a boss could give.