The workplace is finding its rhythm again after two years of mostly toiling from home and meeting through screens. With offices reopening again and employees reuniting or even seeing each other for the first time, now is the best opportunity to instil and strengthen company culture – and what better way to do that than through office events?

Through this blog, we’ll help you get started on your event planning journey and make it easy for you to put your next office event together with a complete checklist. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Why Are Office Events Necessary?

People eating and drinking around tables full of food during an office event

It’s easy to think that office events are elaborate ways to socialise. However, they do more than allow colleagues to mingle with one another. Especially, after a couple of years of corporate culture taking a backseat, it’s an ideal way to bring forward your company’s values and ethos to your team.

The benefits of hosting office events

  1. It fosters team building. – Office functions aren’t just mixers. They can be team-building retreats designed to enhance camaraderie, collaboration, and fellowship.
  2. It makes for a more productive team. – According to research by American human resources provider ADP, employees who trust in their teamwork are more engaged in their jobs.
  3. It boosts workplace morale. – Office events can be a space to review the company’s mission and vision, acknowledge good work and celebrate milestones.
  4. It initiates friendships. – Corporate events are still work functions, but they are slightly a grey area. They can be a much more relaxed experience where you can put your guards down and bond on a more personal level.
  5. It enhances creativity. – Depending on the purpose of an office event, certain workshops can stimulate creativity and critical thinking.

Different Office Event Ideas

Office events do not have to be boring gatherings in some closed conference room. There are so many ways to bring your company culture to the forefront. Figure out your team building budget and see which ones you can add to your company calendar.

  • Holiday parties, such as Valentine’s, Halloween, or Christmas
  • Seminars, workshops, conferences
  • Relaxing retreats
  • Training and team building escapes
  • Recognition night
  • Coffee/Breakfast mornings
  • Weekday traditions (E.g., Workout Wednesdays, Thankful Thursdays, Fun Fridays, etc)
  • Charity or outreach programs
  • Sporting events

Planning In-Office Events

Man in Christmas vest opening present at table next to man with Santa hat at a work event

Office events are not the same as some sixth-form soiree. They require careful planning. Before setting anything up, make sure your intentions and goals are clear. Also, even if your aim is for some light-hearted fun, you should still prepare a well-thought-out programme.

According to a report by the Society of Human Resource Management, employees gravitate towards people they already know during social functions. So, if team bonding is your objective, you must tailor your social event ideas towards that aim.

A Corporate Event Checklist

Whether you are a small-to-medium enterprise or a sprawling corporation, these are the essential aspects to nailing a successful office event:

What you need to know before planning your office event

1. Find a caterer or a catering supplier

An office social where you hang out in the pub after clocking out is not the same as a planned workplace event. You must have a designated location – ideally a place you reserved exclusively for the employees. It allows you more freedom to create a more bespoke experience that would target your company’s needs.

You should also block the time and date in advance. It avoids scheduling conflicts and it can also help you prepare, knowing just how much time you have to organise the event.

2. Event size

Ask yourself the following questions: Is this a departmental function or a full-blown event for the entire company? How many days should the event cover? Is this solely for company employees or are outsiders allowed?

3. Budget costs

How much of the annual budget is allotted for this event? Do you have sponsors? Budgetary details are critical in pinning down what kind of office event you can coordinate – and how you can accomplish a memorable one!

4. Event theme and purpose

Determine what this event is for. Check the year’s key performance indicators. Is promoting teamwork your business’s top priority? Are you investing in training and skills seminars this quarter?

The event goal can guide you in designing how you want the day to unravel. A scavenger hunt might be effective in boosting team spirit. However, if your objective is merely to relax and let loose, putting employees in an escape room might not be a great idea.

5. Success indicators

Whether you’re looking to improve employee engagement, encouraging attendance, or promoting productivity, you must develop a way to measure your event’s success. A deep dive into what worked and what didn’t  will guide you in how to plan for other office events in the future.

Setting up your event supplies list

1. Find a caterer or a catering supplier

Regardless of the type of event, food is a necessary part of it. Whether you are in need of corporate catering for a workshop, work lunch or a quick breakfast get-together, there are many things you need to consider:

  • The size of the group
  • The time of day of the event
  • The length of the event
  • Your budget
  • Additional dietary requirements
Many different pots of food at the catering station at an event

Plan your menu for the event carefully and choose a catering supplier to take care of the food and beverage needs for the event. With this off your list, you’ll have an easier time coordinating the rest of the event.

The Fruit People specialise in workplace food and beverage programmes and also provide catering services for office events. If you need help with your next corporate event, get in touch with our experienced team. We’ll take care of all things food and drinks and ensure that your event is memorable for all the right reasons!

2. Think about the decorations.

Now that you know your theme, location, and the type of event you are organising, you can narrow down how you want your venue to look like. Decorations don’t have to be wedding-worthy, but they help set the mood for your event.

Hire a decorator or party stylist to make matters simpler. This way, you do not have to spend hours making paper-chain garlands or wonder what to do with the ornaments after the event.

You can also be efficient and hit two (or more) birds with one stone. For example, you can make the food not just a form of sustenance but also a visual focal point of your function. Think edible centrepieces or an eye-catching grazing table filled with fresh fruits and charcuterie. Here are some other, similar great ideas:

  • Create centrepieces made of giveaways or tokens
  • Utilise game props as decor
  • Use a projector to flash the event’s logo or a more dynamic video loop

3. Refine your programme.

The sequence of activities that comprises your event will spell success or failure. It should not be too rushed, long-winded, short, or long. Pacing is the key to any agenda, and you have to find ways to keep your audience interested and engrossed throughout. Here are some crucial details to ensure a great event flow:

  • A witty host who can entertain as well as kill any dull moments
  • Appropriate music – make sure your sound system is working properly
  • Fun dynamics – icebreakers and games for office events are always interesting, but make sure to select those appropriate to your theme
  • Fascinating speakers – it could a guest speaker from the industry or a motivational influencer

Sample Events Planning Calendar

There is no fixed time frame for putting events together. Your company’s major annual events, such as team building day or perhaps the Christmas party will likely take several months to plan. However, smaller-scale activities may only require a fortnight’s notice.

If you have been tasked with arranging the next company event, figuring out the crucial dates as soon as possible will make planning more manageable.

Nonetheless, here’s a rough checklist of what must be done when planning office events. You can adjust it based on your own timeline.

A Few Months Before:

  • Come up with the date, time, and theme.
  • Book your venue as well as event supplies and suppliers, such as caterers and marketing materials.
  • Send your save-the-dates and calendar invites.
  • Send out regular updates and reminders to keep people on their toes and to drum up excitement.

A Few Weeks Before:

  • Draft your programme.
  • Finalise details with your event suppliers, such as caterers.
  • Rehearse the day if possible.
  • Come up with contingency plans, such as alternate venues (if it is outdoor and in case it rains) or extra games or activities (in case the programme runs too quickly).
  • Create a time-based schedule for the event. You may also add key people responsible for each aspect of the event as well as their contact information.

On the Day Of:

  • Go to the location ahead of time.
  • Meet with your fellow organisers to run through schedules and responsibilities.
  • Ensure egress goes smoothly.
  • Check for last-minute changes.
  • Coordinate with the emcee or host regularly to manage the pace.
  • Ensure that lots of pictures are being taken of the event.

After the Event:

  • Send a thank you letter to any external guests complete with the event’s branding.
  • Disseminate feedback forms (or other channels for attendees to relay their sentiments about the event).
  • Create a post-event report and analysis so you can learn for your next event.

What About Events for Remote or Hybrid Teams?

A hybrid event where groups of people are sitting around tables and the host is in front of a screen

More and more workplaces are now turning towards different ways of working. Infact, a bill is currently underway to formalise work-from-home policies.

Many jobs have also become location independent, creating not just opportunities for people to work from anywhere but also for people to work with colleagues based overseas. Many employers have adopted a hybrid working model, to address the changed ways of working in this new normal. It has also been seen as a more cost-effective and sustainable measure.

How to Create a Memorable Online/Hybrid Office Event

Adjust for the online medium.

Firstly, you need to accept that hosting an event via Zoom, Google Meet, or MS Teams will not be the same as designing an actual, tangible affair. If you have a great idea for a “traditional event,” you can’t just translate it for the web.

  • Minimise speeches in the programme or give speakers a shorter time limit
  • Skip things that would be considered “better if it was done in person”
  • If there’s a dress code, make it fun by limiting it to headware
  • If you’re a big organisation, split it in groups to make the events more compact
  • Prepare for technical glitches and fails

Keep it short and simple.

Again, there are very many physical limitations when you’re dealing with remote teams. You can’t exactly do trust falls or relays over Skype. Everyone only has about an inch of screen space to move around in.

You also can’t be sure that everyone has the same computer and connection speed. Keep your programme simple, easy to follow, and short.

Add something “analogue.”

Give a sweet touch by sending out care packages to your remote colleagues. Arrange a personal hamper complete with various tropical fruits, chocolate treats, crisps, and biscuits. It sounds like an effortful endeavour, but can go a long way in creating a meaningful experience.

Fun, Location-Independent Team Building Ideas

Here are some suggestions of virtual activities you can do:

  • Online trivia – Create a simple deck with questions and answers and award points to the fastest person to type in their answers. You can change this to other categories, such as Guess the Song, Guess the Photo, and more.
  • Prosecco and Paint – It can be heaps of fun for smaller teams to get together and whip out their paint brushes while sipping on a glass of Prosecco. Such activities can be a great way to destress and help teams bond in a relaxed environment. And for all you know, you might discover the company’s next Van Gogh in the process!
  • Virtual Bingo – You can easily convert this classic game online. If you’re a small team and share inside jokes, make it personal by putting predictable actions on the cards. For example, write in “Scott asks a question” or “Niamh goes to the restroom twice.”
  • Show & Tell – This ice breaker is ideal for new joiners who are still getting to know each other. You can declare a theme, such as pets or talent, that they can talk about during the meeting.
  • Virtual Escape Rooms – You can also download an app or install software that allows you to have fun solving puzzles via a digital escape room. Other apps such as JackBox Games, Tabletopia, and House Party let you allow group games via video-call chats.

Tips for Organising Office Events

A team building event may last one or two days, but its success stems from weeks to months of prepping. Planning is the key, from the goal to the budget to the contingency. If you make sure to cover everything and follow the checklist above, you and the participants will leave your event happy and satisfied.

A group of work colleagues talking during an office event

How to Prepare for Office Mishaps or Last-Minute Changes?

You have your Plan A, which is your absolute dream office event, but make sure to leave room for flexibility. Plan a contingency for every aspect of the event – from the venue to the sound system to even the host.

This is why researching and choosing your suppliers carefully is doubly crucial. You have to make sure you can rely on them. If something goes wrong in your affair, here’s what you should do.

Keep calm

Remember you have a plan. You prepared for this. As organiser, the whole vibe of the event depends on you. If you panic or fall apart, your team will, too – and participants may feel your despair. Stay calm and follow logic.

Call an emergency meeting

Gather the organising committee and keep them updated on the changes so that everyone is on the same page. Run through all the adjustments, reassign, reshuffle, and regroup.

Have fun

At the end of the day, you just have to stick to your goals. A busted sound system should not get in the way of your workshop. Is your laptop not working? Grab someone else’s. The point is, you started this event with a goal. There may be many paths towards it, but you’ll get there eventually.

No matter what office events you organise in your company, make The Fruit People a part of it. Apart from offering food and beverage programmes to workplaces, we also take pride in catering office events of all sizes.

Looking for some catering supplies for your next event? Get in touch with our team to see how we can help make your event unforgettable!