Throwing a Christmas party for your staff can be a great way to boost morale throughout the company and show your gratitude for all of your employees’ hard work over the year. However, if times are tough in your industry or you’re just getting your business off the ground, you may not have the money to splash out on a festive event for your staff, no matter how much you want to.
Moreover, even if your company is thriving and can afford to spend a bit more on a festive celebration, you’d be well advised to keep within a budget of £150 per head, as this will leave the event tax deductible according to HMRC’s rules.
To help you throw an office Christmas party on a budget we’ve put together these top tips.
Host it in your office
The easiest way to save money on your corporate Christmas party is to host it in your office, rather than rent out an expensive function room at a local hotel or pub. This is not only the most cost-effective option, but also the easiest to organise, as you won’t have to shepherd everyone on to a separate location.
Of course, if you are hosting a festive party in your office it needs to look the part. Pick up some affordable decorations and ask employees to bring in any spares during December and use them to deck the halls of your office. Get your staff involved as well by encouraging them to decorate their own desks — this is not only likely to boost staff morale, but also make your office the perfect venue for your Christmas party for a fraction of the cost of hiring a function room.
When it comes to the night itself, you can buy more than enough food and drink for your staff to make a memorable night for your workforce for far less than the bill would come to if you took your employees out for a meal on the company. Pick up affordable catering disposables from a wholesale supplier such as Alliance Online and food and drink from a discount supermarket such as Aldi or Lidl and you’ll be able to cater for everyone on even the tightest of budgets. This also gives the amateur chefs among your workforce the chance to bring in and show off their own homemade festive delicacies — a sure-fire way of building bonds between your workforce.
Focus on the details
As with so many things, it’s all in the details when it comes to a Christmas party. For example, it’s relatively inexpensive to hire a pick n’ mix stand from a company like Sweet Box UK or a photo booth from a company such as Snaptcha or Blushbooth, but these simple features can really make the night. Make sure you get the details right and the rest tends to fall into place, so save your money on hiring a live band and instead put it towards the little things that really make a difference.
Choose the day of the party carefully
If you’re planning on throwing an office Christmas party on a budget this year, you might want to focus on the lost productivity the morning after the big night. You may therefore be tempted to throw your Christmas party on a Friday or even Saturday night so that any hangovers are nursed in your employees’ own time. This will definitely improve productivity in the short-term, and if you work in an industry that has its busiest period over the winter, it might be worth explaining to your staff that you can’t afford to slow down at this time of year.
However, if you can afford to, it can be a great idea to throw your office Christmas party on a weekday and give your employees the morning of the day after off work. While you’ll obviously lose out on those staff hours in the short term, this can engender a lot of gratitude from your staff, and this act of goodwill is likely to be met with increased loyalty from your employees. You never know — this might even end up being key in retaining your best staff for years to come.
Invite every member of staff (but don’t make it compulsory)
While treating your staff to a Christmas party can boost morale and improve staff loyalty and productivity in the long run when done right, it could do the opposite if not handled properly. Even if you’re sticking to the very tightest of budgets, you should extend the invitation to every member of staff on your payroll. Leaving people out is not only a sure-fire way of alienating not only those particular members of staff, but also people who are invited but don’t think it’s fair that others haven’t been.
So, unless you want your Christmas party to do more harm to company morale than good, be sure to invite everybody who works for you. On the other hand, it’s crucial that you give those who don’t want to attend — for whatever reason — the option. Even if you have a spectacular night lined up for your staff, if you make the event compulsory, all the fun will quickly be drained out of it for your staff.
So, there you have it — our top tips for throwing an office Christmas party on a budget. Follow these steps and your staff are sure to appreciate the effort you’ve put in to make the festive period special, no matter what budget you’ve had to work with.