Dedicated viewers of The Office—is there any other kind?—fondly remember the beyond-straitlaced Angela, the martinet of the party-planning committee who always found a way to make planning an office party less than fun. While we love all the characters from this classic sitcom, we prefer to keep Dunder Mifflin hijinks confined to our streaming services and out of our actual offices. That means putting together parties that, for a change, don’t leave coworkers in tears. With more and more of us making our partial returns to the premises, we have a reason to celebrate. Here’s how to plan and throw the perfect office party—no dictatorship of the party-planning committee required.
Pick a Theme
Everyone appreciates office parties for the free food, but there is more to it than that. Put together a cohesive theme that ties together food, music, and décor. Whether you’re going for a “Halfway to Cinco de Mayo” party on November 5, a traditional holiday party in December, or maybe doing a decade-themed nostalgia shindig, make sure to bring it all together. If you can theme it, theme it!
Picking Out Food: Be Sensitive to Sensitivities
Whether it’s peanuts, dairy, seafood, or gluten, you should always stay mindful of your coworkers’ food allergies and sensitivities when coordinating a meal that everyone can enjoy. Try to avoid common allergens, such as the ones we mentioned above. Also, with more people opting for vegetarian diets, make fully plant-based options available to all who want them. This may require putting together a quick survey before you spring for a meal and snacks.
Themed Plates and Flatware
Don’t just reach into the break room cabinet for flimsy paper plates—that’s good enough for ordering sub sandwiches for some idle Wednesday lunch hour but insufficient for a full-fledged party. Now’s a perfect time to go green by providing your coworkers with biodegradable plates and utensils made from pressed palm leaves. When the party is over and everyone goes back to work, Mother Nature can get to work safely at breaking down your party supplies in a landfill or, better yet, a compost heap. The 100 percent organic material will make perfect food for your home or office gardens. Consider that their party.
Get Coworkers Involved
Planning and throwing the perfect office party is not a solo endeavor. While you should know that your “guests” (and your supervisors) appreciate your efforts, you can’t burn yourself out trying to do it alone. Make fellow partygoers feel involved by incorporating them into your planning efforts. The collaborative atmosphere may help you come up with some other ideas you wouldn’t have had yourself. This way, no one can ever accuse you of being an iron-fisted leader of the party-planning committee.