We know, we know: You’re gearing up for a fun summer and aren’t quite ready to think about the cold-weather months! But believe it or not, ‘tis the season to start planning your organization’s holiday party.
Holiday parties are an essential time to bring your employees together, foster team spirit, and celebrate everyone’s achievements—and in 2023, that will be more important than ever, especially with almost 30% of American employees working remotely at least part of the time.
Here’s what we’re expecting to see at corporate holiday parties in 2023.
Competition for Venues and Key Dates
Like with gatherings of all types right now, venues are booking up fast! Especially for holiday parties, when everyone is fighting for the same key dates, it’s crucial to start making a plan early. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to venues, or go for more unexpected dates—after all, with team members increasingly spread throughout the country, traveling close to Christmas might not be the most ideal choice for them. How about an early December or January holiday party?
A Focus on Team Bonding Activities
Microsoft research shows that over 50% of hybrid and remote employees feel lonelier at work than they did while in the office every day. When staffers make deep connections with their colleagues, the report adds, they’re more likely to report higher satisfaction, productivity, and creativity.
All of this to say: Team bonding is important, and corporate holiday parties are a great way to make that happen. Our advice? Focus on interactive, fun activities that will encourage employees across departments to work together in fun, unconventional ways. Maybe it’s a roving illusionist or other interactive entertainment that ties into the theme and helps break the ice, or a decorative competition that taps into guests’ artsy sides (and competitive spirit)? Company-themed games like client improv, and playful employee awards are also a popular choice, as are unique photo ops, liquor and F&B tastings, and D.I.Y. cocktails or sundae bars.
The holiday season is also an ideal time to incorporate charitable components—and CSR activities are a great way to both bond a team and reinforce your company’s values, which can lead to increased employee loyalty.
Find causes your employees care deeply about, whether it’s a volunteer activity that gives back to a local community, or a group donation drive for a nonprofit whose mission ties into your own. If you’re not sure what causes your team cares about—ask them! That personal touch will generate an increased level of passion, getting employees excited and feeling like they’re making a real difference.
A More Inclusive Environment
Today’s event attendees may be more conscious of their health and wellness choices—and for corporate holiday parties, it’s more important than ever to be aware of that, particularly when it comes to F&B options. According to Nutrition Outlook’s 2023 forecast, more people are focusing on plant-based diets and gut-friendly foods; we’re also seeing increased interest in non-alcoholic elixirs.” Depending on the size of your holiday party, you can either ask employees their preferences—or provide a variety of food stations or buffet-style dining to offer enough variety for everyone. And whatever the drinks are, don’t forget to make them festive!
Inclusion ties into decor, too. For example, focus on neutral color palettes and themes like “winter wonderland” rather than centering your event around Christmas or another specific holiday.
Inclusion of Partners and Families
While not appropriate for all corporate holiday parties, think through whether incorporating a family-friendly activity makes sense for your specific staff. Consider whether your team might enjoy a daytime event with fun, seasonal activities for children, for example. Bonus: Incorporating family-friendly elements shows employees that you care about and support their full selves, both inside and outside of work.
Smaller, More Regional Events
While it can be appealing to host a big, blowout bash for your entire team, the realities of deadlines and tightened 2023 budgets don’t always make that possible. If your company has offices around the country, consider whether intimate regional events make sense—perhaps even with a hybrid component that can bring everyone together at strategic times, like for staff-wide appreciation moments. (As a bonus, smaller events can be easier on the budget and can help promote those crucial connections between employees and leadership.)
Ultimately, corporate holiday parties should be a fun cause for celebration—and that means meeting employees where they are. Throw out your old playbook, and think through exactly what you want to accomplish at your 2023 event. Once you have that all-important “why,” work backward to find the best format, timing, and programming to reach those goals.
Need help planning your corporate holiday party? Contact Sequence Events today.