Before we know it, the holidays will be upon us again! So, whether you’re prepping a Thanksgiving-themed office gathering, a Holly Jolly Christmas party or a non-denominational end-of-the-year bash for you and your co-workers, you’ve come to the right place. In our nearly 40 years as a Jacksonville, FL landmark with a growing presence as a Classic Southern BBQ franchise company, Woody’s Bar-B-Q has learned a thing or two about hosting a holiday office party along the way. We are more than happy to share 10 of those things with you to help secure the success of your next seasonal soiree…
- Start (and End) with a Plan: Put a date on the calendar, figure out how long you want your event to run and create a basic outline of what you want your event to include. Do you plan to incorporate a theme? If you do, the other pieces of the puzzle – like food, music, activities, décor, etc.… – will fall into place easily. Once you land on your plan – build a budget and stick to both to ensure smooth sailing from start to finish. The earlier you lock this part down, the better!
- Land on a Location: While it will likely add to the expense of your gathering, taking an event offsite may increase the festive feel. Having an event in the office – particularly in a conference room where the occasional browbeating may occur – may be the employer equivalent of coal in the stocking. But don’t wait too late!! Locations that offer party space – like a few of our Woody’s Bar-B-Q locations – tend to get booked up quickly this time of year. If you don’t have enough wiggle room in your budget to host it offsite, do your best to transform the look and feel of the office into a fall festival or winter wonderland to add a sense of escapism. You may even want to take the party outside in the parking lot with tents, heaters and a big bonfire for roasting marshmallows.
- Run Your Ideas by HR: It’s a sad truth, but in this cover your “bases” world we live in, it’s best to talk through potential challenges that your party might pose from a human resources standpoint. If you plan to serve alcohol, do you limit the number of drinks by handing out drink tickets and instituting a two-drink max? If not, will you offer transportation alternatives to make sure no one gets behind the wheel who shouldn’t? These questions and more are best handled by the professionals.
- Create a Menu: Your menu should fit your theme. Woody’s Bar-B-Q is proud to offer several catering packages and many of our owners are happy to customize a package to fit your party. We also offer an extensive to go menu that features many of our smoked meats by the pound, our comfort food sides and desserts by the gallon, whole Sky High pies, AND – for the holidays – our whole smoked turkeys. You can opt to have your complete menu supplied by Woody’s or another caterer of your choosing, or you may decide to look to us to provide your main courses – like smoked turkey and several pounds of our pulled pork, then have your employees bring their favorite recipes to enhance the occasion. Send out a digital sign-up sheet so people can sign up to bring an appetizer, side or dessert.
- Design a Volunteer Event: You may want to ditch the idea of a holiday party altogether in favor of taking part in a volunteer activity as a company. Not only is it a great thing to do for any community-minded company, but it’s also a terrific PR opportunity. Share your involvement on social media and – depending on the size of your effort – consider sending out a press release to shine the spotlight on the charity you helped. Nonprofits don’t always get the attention they deserve. Not to mention, this is a terrific way to make your employees feel like they played an active role in the season of giving.
- Incorporate Team building: Rather than hosting a traditional office party, you may want to enhance it by adding a team-building element to the event. This may include a friendly competition on-site or something off-site – like a holiday-themed escape room or a visit to a local sports venue like a driving range or bowling alley dressed in ugly Christmas sweaters.
- Encourage the Sense of One Big Happy Family: You might want to open your party up to extended members of your company “family” by inviting your employees’ family members. Make it a G-rated gathering and feature family-friendly activities like holiday themed arts and crafts + fun games.
- Give the Gift of Time: You may want to host a holiday breakfast or brunch at the office and then surprise your employees with an afternoon off to knock some items off their holiday shopping list. Or – if you have your heart set on an afterhours gathering, give them the following day off.
- Have an Eventful Event: Dig deep and get creative to plan some fun entertainment and activities throughout your event. You may opt to hire a Santa, DJ or balloon artist to entertain your guests, and you might want to incorporate a holiday movie-viewing element, games, photo booth with props, gift exchange and more. The point is to make your party memorable and FUN!
- Have Employees Create a Holiday Wish List: During your event, you might want to have your employees write grown-up versions of a Letter to Santa. In it, they can express their ideas and wishes for the company in the year to come.
Holiday parties are a great opportunity to promote a fun corporate culture and boost employee morale. If you want to place the lion’s share of your focus to planning the décor and activities, Woody’s Bar-B-Q welcomes the chance to take the office holiday party menu off your hands. CLICK HERE to review our standard catering menu, but keep in mind that we can also customize your menu to fit your needs and we offer takeout, as well, if you don’t require full catering service. Visit our locations page to find the Woody’s Bar-B-Q near you! We wish you the best of luck in planning a holiday office party to remember!