You may be good at pulling off workplace miracles at the last minute, but an office event shouldn't be one of them. Putting on a quality affair requires detailed planing, as well as enough time to create a final product that reflects all the hard work you and your team put in. If you're putting together an office event, don't procrastinate since -- contrary to public opinion -- time flies whether or not you're having any fun.
Count the Cost
Count the coins in the company bank before organizing your office event, to get a firm idea of what you can and cannot afford. Ask your supervisor or finance department for a written breakdown of the funds allotted, to make sure you aren’t planning a black-tie event on a jeans-and-gym shoe budget.
Gather Your Team
Gather your event planning team for an informal meet and greet, and give the members a brief rundown of the task at hand. Provide everyone in the meeting with a written description of the event (including the purpose and intended audience), the proposed budget, and the phone numbers and email addresses of everyone involved. Send your members away with a homework assignment: Think long and hard about how to make the event a success, and return to the next meeting with ideas to share.
Hold a lengthy brainstorming session to hear each person's suggestions and comments, no matter how zany or far-fetched. No censorship allowed -- the point is to just throw ideas out and see what happens. Write each idea on a whiteboard or chalkboard that the whole group can view, to keep everyone actively involved in the process. Afterwards, consider whether each idea is feasible or not, and narrow down your options until you firm up a realistic course of action.
Pass Out Roles
Now that you’ve planned the details of the event, you need to decide who will execute those details. Assign roles to each team member -- in writing -- so that each person is crystal clear on what she's supposed to do. Don’t assign the duties at random, or based solely on team member’s preferences. Pair people up with jobs that best fit their personalities and professional strengths -- don’t give Sally the task of getting the event space contracts signed on time if you notice she’s chronically late to work, and don’t ask Susan to handle the media and promotions if you see she’s an introverted loner.
Create a Timeline
A step-by-step timeline is essential to getting your office event organized and executed. Work backwards from the day of the event to decide how much time you have for planning and associated deadlines. Sample questions to consider: When do we need to pay to reserve the space? How long will decorating the space take? How soon do we need to have the menu planned, finalized and paid for? How far in advance do we need to book a speaker or other entertainment? Do we need to arrange transportation to and from the event? Will there be seating or not -- and if so, are we required to provide the chairs? Impose (and stick to) real and artificial deadlines to keep your team from rushing around in a blind panic at the last minute.
Once your team is off and running with their individual tasks, hold periodic meetings to update the team on project progress and address any problems that may have arisen. Pick each others’ brains for suggestions, solutions and moral support.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.