Have you ever had a double helix cheese stick? How about a dirt pie with worms, or even a fruit molecule? I know they don’t sound like your run-of-the-mill menu selections, but they were the perfect choice for a recent Ad Council pop-up event celebrating the launch of our new Girls Can STEM campaign. At the Ad Council, one part of my job is to plan inspiring and engaging events for our staff in the office. Hosting an office event may seem boring to some, but I’m here to share tips on how you can make your colleagues feel involved and up-to-date on the latest company news – all while having fun!
Know Your Colleagues
You spend most of your day with the people in your office. To host an event that everyone will enjoy, you should get to know your colleagues. Take the time to learn more about their likes, dislikes and passions, and you might even learn something new for future events.
Pick a Theme
Piggybacking off my earlier example, for our Girls Can STEM launch party we based our menu selections on science & technology-related items. Some of our food puns were a stretch (chips were called “computer chips”), but they were entertaining and different, and no one was expecting them.
You can also utilize holidays as a theme, think heart-shaped food for Valentine’s day or a mac & cheese taste testing for Thanksgiving. Don’t forget all the quirky holidays, like National Ice Cream Day, because those are just plain delicious and simple to accomplish!
Pick a Relevant Time
If you know everyone tends to go to the kitchen and get a snack around three in the afternoon, then that would be a great time to host an event. If it’s National Coffee Day, then hosting a morning breakfast would be best. If you’re allowed to serve alcoholic beverages, a 4 p.m. start time could work – that way it can crossover into a happy hour.
Include an Activity or Game
Depending on your career, you may spend most of your day at a desk. Hosting an event is a time for everyone to come together, enjoy some food and drinks and maybe even learn something new. You can try and incorporate a well-known game such as Jeopardy, or if you have the audio visual capabilities, try using digital websites such as Sporcle and Kahoot. They offer a variety of games that can be customized to accommodate your event’s theme. You also must remember that your guests are not going to want to come to yet “another meeting,” so include a question and answer segment. And if there’s a presentation involved, add in engaging visuals and funny GIFs. These small details are great for morale, workplace culture and an overall better time.
Sometimes the event might not go as planned. Sometimes the theme didn’t execute in the way you had envisioned it. Send out a survey post-event or have a debrief amongst a small group of colleagues who attended. If you are stuck on thinking of a theme, you can always host a meeting prior to the event, and brainstorm event ideas. It may be your job to plan the event but hearing your colleagues’ ideas can be beneficial as well.
Make it Social
Social media is popular for a reason. Think of a creative hashtag for the event and encourage your colleagues to post about it on their platforms. If your company has their own account, post pictures and announcements that were shared at the event. If available, you can have a selfie booth and create a custom filter for employees to use.
By following these steps, your next office event will be one for the books. You’ll create a stronger workplace culture and keep your employees engaged and inspired. The only thing left to do is to start planning!