In a professional environment, a year-end function is a sensitive, albeit vital, event. On the one hand, everyone in the office wants to have a good time, some laughs, reflect on the accomplishments and challenges of the past year. On the other hand, there is a decorum to be maintained; things can’t get too friendly or out of hand.
Executing the matter smoothly is possible, but it requires some planning. Without further ado, here are eleven of the biggest pitfalls of the year-end function, and how you can prevent them.
Let’s first address the pachyderm in the room.
Yes, a drink or two is great for getting everyone to loosen up a little. But an office party is not the place for large-scale alcohol consumption – we’re pretty sure you don’t need much more elaboration on this.
Ensure things don’t get out of hand by stipulating that no-one is allowed to bring their own. Rather have waiting staff on hand to serve everyone a few civilized glasses of wine, or a bar with limited quantities of liquor.
You know how John from accounting and Frand from HR can’t stand each other? Or the rumours that X and Y were seen getting very friendly at a party the other day? This is not the place for politics, nor will the social situation magically remedy them. If you are going to have tables, make sure you place people who get along with one another.
A year-end function is not the place to stumble upon the knowledge that so-and-so offers from a lethal peanut allergy. Find out if anyone in the office has dietary restrictions prior to planning the catering.
It’s going to feel awkward if a handful of attendees show up with fancy dresses and tuxedos, and the rest with sneakers and jeans. Make sure everyone knows what the dress-code is; formal, semi-formal or informal should do.
Avoid frustration and confusion by planning the evening. Pre-drinks, food, speeches, dancing. But don’t overdo it; you want to make sure everyone feels relaxed and has fun.
Ensure the safety of everyone’s personal possessions and safety by choosing a venue that’s in a secure environment, and hiring the services of a security guard or two. Nothing kills the mood like a stolen handbag.
The boss is the boss, and it’s better for future relations that everyone is aware of this. Make sure the boss sits at a private table with guests of his or her choice and, if possible, persuade the boss to leave a bit earlier than everyone else.
Don’t get Bob from IT to compile a crappy playlist; enlist the services of a professional DJ or musician(s).
“Professionals know how to cater to everyone’s musical tastes and ensure that the whole office has a night to remember,” says JP Prinsloo, owner of events coordination company Prifactor.
Sound and lighting
Speeches, music, announcements; these make up a very important part of the function. It’s advisable to enlist the services of an events coordination company to take care of this for you.
There are always a few die-hard party animals who just don’t want to leave. Make sure that you either communicate the cut-off time to the entire office prior to the actual function, or make arrangements with the venue you will be using to keep going until late.
It’s better to expect the worst – don’t just assume things will go well. When disaster strikes, it can help to have the services of professionals to smooth out the kinks.
This is your time to shine; pay the right people to do their job well and ensure a hazard-free, enjoyable experience for all.