What comes to mind when you think about an office party? Is it a picture of never ending, watch-checking, awkwardness? At some point we’ve all been there and we certainly don’t want to go back.
An office party is perhaps one of the trickiest events to plan, for it is indeed a serious task, mostly because you have to balance two very opposite objectives: your responsibility and your guests’ fun.
But if you’ve been put in charge of planning your next office party, fear not, we’re here to help. Here are 18 of the most exciting office party ideas that will take away any restraint and help you organise the best office party ever.
Our list of 18 best office party ideas:
Every four years, Olympic fever sweeps the globe, creating an atmosphere of positivity and togetherness. Holding an Office Olympics will bring this ambience to your party and, hopefully, into your office.
This is a great way to mix different departments, create teams and arrange a variety of fun and unique events. They don’t have to be any of the typically sporty activities, and you don’t even need an open space in which to carry them out, as long as they are something your employees will enjoy, there’s more than enough ways to do what you want.
To fully embrace the occasion, you can also hold an opening and closing ceremony, medal presentations, and have each team choose their own ‘national anthems’.
Photo-booths are always popular at parties, but they can be expensive. Making one yourself is quick and easy, saves you money, and adds a far more personal touch. You will need:
This can be anything from a strip of paper, bedsheet, or curtain.
These can be easily made by downloading templates from the internet and cutting them out yourself, certain accessories are also extremely cheap to buy in party and fancy dress shops.
Ask around the office to see if anyone has a good quality camera that they’d be happy to donate for the night. Failing that, a smartphone camera can work just as well and allow you to upload photos immediately.
Gift exchanges are another great way of mixing up different groups and encouraging new friendships. They can also take the form of a variety of different games. The Danish Christmas game ‘Pakkeleg’ is a particularly fun one that will create plenty of laughter and suspense.
Got remote workers? Gift exchanges can also be done virtually thanks to different applications, check out number three on this list for more details.
Another idea could be to have a small lead-up to your gift exchange at the party. Give everyone a ‘secret friend’ a week before the party and leave envelopes in the office with everyone’s name on it. People can then place small gifts, notes, or clues in the envelope of their friend before the big reveal at the end-of-week party.
While the idea of a pub quiz can sometimes be met with rolled eyes, get it right and it can make for a truly memorable night. Balance is key – don’t copy and paste generic questions that you hear down the boozer every week. Try and add a personal element and include questions specific to the office, or with open-ended answers that you can judge yourself.
Here are some ideas for fun quiz questions that can be incorporated into your quiz and are guaranteed to keep everyone on their toes and make for a memorable night. All you will need to do is watch as the evening unfolds and teams begin to work together in a healthy, engaging, and competitive spirit.
A great way of getting everyone outside and exploring, scavenger hunts have the ability to bring people together from all across the office and adds a fun, competitive, and interesting edge to your party.
Familiarise yourself with the location where you’d like to have the hunt and then think about how to structure your teams, tasks, and prizes. Try to make it personal to the office and get creative with your clues and tasks. Here are some ideas to get you going.
An office talent show is a really interesting way to get to know more about your colleagues and any hidden talents they may possess. It can also encourage people to show new sides to their personality that may be difficult to convey in an office environment. Encouraging people to take part – whether serious or silly – lets people get involved to whatever degree they wish and in turn creates some great talking points around the office. More importantly, it will create a newfound camaraderie and bring people of shared interests together, helping to create a more positive mentality amongst your workforce.
A cheap and cheerful way of bringing everyone together, ask your attendees to bring in whatever games they may have at home and then set up a tournament. You can select whichever games are your favourite and position them on different tables. Split the office into different groups and have each one rotate to a new table every hour, so they get a chance to play all games.
If possible, you can also use the same format but with different video game consoles and games, or provide a mixture of the two. Couple this with some snacks and drinks, and you’ll see everyone start getting involved and engaged.
Great food is something that can unite everyone, while also acting as a fantastic conversation starter. If you’re working in an international office, getting everyone to bring in a traditional dish from their country is a lovely way to sample some delicious new treats, as well as learn more about everyone’s culture.
For domestic offices, why not try and bring in a range of local and homemade food and have your own mini food festival. Couple that with some drinks, decorations, and music and you’ll have an awesome party in the making!
A trend that’s gathering pace, Escape Rooms can be an interesting way of trying something new and different with your colleagues. While being trapped inside a room with all of your work colleagues may seem like familiar territory, in this case you’ll have one hour to escape by solving a range of different cryptic clues. This is fantastic for team morale and allows you to get to know your colleagues in a much different context than in the office. If you have one in town, why not give it a try?
Afterwards, you can also go for food and drinks and discuss the activity. Win or lose, there will be plenty of different talking points and it’s a nice way of bringing everyone together and unwinding after the activity.
Are you all from the same decade in your office, or do you have a particular favourite? Decade parties are a great way of bringing everyone in the office together for a fun dress-up and interesting party experience. You can include famous music, fancy dress, and games, alongside assorted food and drinks, to set the tone for the party very early on and encourage everyone to bond over the theme. Including prizes for the best dressed will also encourage everyone to make their best effort in dressing up.
A murder mystery is a fun way to create a spectacle and add some fun and suspense to your party. Allowing everyone to take on different personas is a nice way of taking away any possible awkwardness and will help people to come out of their shells a bit. As the night goes on and the mystery unravels, it’s especially fun to see how everyone engages and takes to the challenge.
Having some relaxed drinks afterwards will allow people to discuss the night and make jokes, increasing relations across the team. Here are some ideas for what kind of mystery you can choose for your night.
An office awards ceremony can be a humorous way to show appreciation for all your staff and the quirks of the office. Coming up with a shortlist of funny and unique awards can be a light-hearted way of poking a bit of fun at yourself and the office. Mixing it up with some more serious and sincere recognition will also show appreciation for the work everyone does and create a positive atmosphere. You can even go all out with a black-tie dress code, decorations, and envelopes with the winners names to add some drama to the occasion.
Surprise everyone by shutting down for lunch and taking them out for the afternoon. The surprise element of this can be a nice way to instil a positive attitude and encourage everyone to get involved from the off. Perhaps more importantly, a delicious lunch is sure to bring about plenty of smiles and full stomachs.
Alongside the surprise lunch, this is also a great opportunity to show your appreciation to everyone in the office. Thank them for coming, and praise their hard work – you can even hand out some small gifts to sweeten the event.
We know this idea may not fly with certain offices, but in the right context what better way to bring people together than by organising a big karaoke night? Watch as people who were nervously waiting by the bar at the beginning of the night finish off by belting out the lyrics to Bon Jovi and refusing to give up the microphone.
It’s important not to be too pushy and force people out of their comfort zone too much. Allowing the night to progress organically is often enough to bring people out of their shells and create a fantastic atmosphere for your office party. Don’t be afraid to get up there yourself either, if people see you making an effort then they will be far more likely to get involved themselves.
If you’re not looking to overcomplicate things, a film night is a great way of bringing your office together without forcing awkward engagements or conversations. All you have to do is stock up on snacks and drinks, and compile a great list of films that everyone can choose between. If you start early enough you can even watch multiple films, as well as include other activities or opportunities for mingling once everyone feels relaxed.
Easy to organise and fun to play, bowling is a nice way to bring everyone together for a fun time. Most bowling alleys will provide food and drinks, as well as let you play multiple games and keep the energy high. This is a great opportunity to mix up your colleagues and encourage them to meet and play with different people in the office. You can even do some team competitions and award prizes for the winning teams and highest scorers.
Bringing in a cocktail maker or mixologist is a fun way to get people to mingle. Giving them the opportunity to make their own cocktails will also encourage them to get involved and alleviate any possible first-hour jitters. The thought of everyone enjoying their time together and bonding across departments with their own homemade cocktail in hand is an especially nice catalyst for further collaboration and friendship across your team.
Office parties can often be mundane affairs; throwing in an element of the obscure sets the tone for the rest of the night and creates a more ‘anything goes’ atmosphere. Here you can find a list of all different kinds of obscure holidays that you can celebrate with your colleagues. How about sampling an assortment of pickles on Pickle Day, or bonding over a love for Ugly Sweaters? There’s loads to explore!
6 key things to make the party truly great
Now you’re full of ideas, here are six more points to consider that will make your party run like clockwork, and ensure everyone goes home happy.
As you have seen, there are loads of newly emerging fun themes for office parties. If you’re organising the office party yourself, it can be easy to get excited about certain ideas without asking the office, so it’s important to give them a voice.
Propose some ideas to them, but also be receptive to their thoughts. If you’re desperate to organise a karaoke party, but no one in the office is motivated by the idea then it wouldn’t make much sense to go through with it. Choosing a theme together that everyone is happy with is far more likely to create excitement and encourage people to get involved.
Regardless of what you’re planning, a suitable venue is pivotal. Don’t try and cut back on the nearest cheap bar or pub. Think about what you’re planning, the number of guests, and plan to find a venue that suits your needs. This includes any support or equipment you may need, such as an open bar, bartenders, professional staff, IT support and DJ’s, amongst others.
Consider also the location of your venue. The right place is one that’s easy to reach for everybody. This may mean compromising is necessary – think about it carefully in advance and take into consideration where your attendees will be travelling from.
Depending on your plans, a truly unique but also familiar space for your guests will make everyone feel welcome and comfortable at all times. Don’t go for the easy option and hold it in the office, change up the location slightly and add some excitement amongst the familiarity. You can find a whole host of fun and interesting venues using our free and easy to use venue finder right here.
Another great ice-breaker, a nice welcome drink can help everyone feel at home and settle any pre-party nerves. Be sure to stock up and have a range of different alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as the night continues.
Of course, for an office party, there will be some degree of moderation involved. Don’t pin all your hopes on the night being great because of the drinks. Centre the night around your planned activities, using drinks as a welcome addition, rather than making them the most important aspect of the party.
Don’t be too shy to enjoy the party yourself! As manager and organiser, it can be easy to sit on the sidelines and let everyone else have fun. Break the mould and be sure to mingle, have fun and make everyone feel comfortable. This will rub off on everyone else and will help all involved enjoy the moment in a relaxed atmosphere.
How often do you all have the opportunity to come together in a non-working environment? Make the most of this opportunity to party together and strengthen relationships within the office. If you’ve chosen an interesting theme or activity go all out to make it special and don’t cut back just to save money. Use all of your budgetto the best of your ability and try to impress. After all, you want people to be coming into the office during the next few days talking about how awesome the party was.
Be sure to thank everyone for coming and give your best efforts to make them seem welcome. As well as providing them with a great atmosphere, food, drinks and music, why not buy some small goodbye gifts to add a personal touch?
Try your best to get rid of any stress at the beginning as this will guarantee a relaxed and fun office party. Try to take photos for good memories and to share on your social media sites and the office pinboard. A good office party can be the start of something much larger and instil a positive mentality throughout your workplace.
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