Plan the perfect after-work party or a team night out.
After work parties, or after-work drinks, are casual events (most often hosted on Thursdays or Fridays) for employees to unwind and socialise.
They aren’t the “must-attend” event of the year. Rather, they’re small relaxed events for employees to get to know each other and spend time building rapport.
The secret to their success is twofold: firstly you need to encourage attendance. Don’t let everyday life get in the way. Secondly, you need to plan a fun activity other than just emptying pints and/or wine glasses.
Let’s get started.
Planing after-work drinks
Make a headcount
How many people are going to be attending?
Will there be 20 or 100 people? You don’t need an exact number yet. Just a guestimate.
This is easily achieved by sending out an email/jotform, asking the HR for a headcount or looking at previous attendance figures.
Just keep in mind that the time of year (and the day of the week) will have a huge influence on who can and can’t attend. Remember that attendance is a priority.
Find a venue
The second step is to find a venue for your after-work party. If you have the required space in your office, then you’re all set.
However, more than likely, you’re going to want to rent a function room for the occasion. For small events (less than 50) you should be able to get the room for free. Check out local hotels, pubs, restaurants, GAA clubs…
Depending on what’s available, try to rent a space that is dead easy for everyone to get too. This will boost your attendance!
The venue should obviously cater drinks but also, if possible, food; everyone gets peckish after a few pints.
At these types of events, the guests are sometimes required to buy their own drinks & food. However, if you have the budget, providing a few drinks at the beginning and some finger food is always welcome.
Pro-tip: Make sure the venue is properly staffed. You don’t want your guests to wait 20 minutes for a drink because they “forgot” about your event. This is especially true for rooms that are on the second or third floor of a pub.
Send out the invitations
A nice invitation makes an event special. Which, in turn, will help boost your attendance. It’s win-win.
All you need to include is:
- The date
- The start time
- The location
- An RSVP link
Making the invitation
You can make the invitation very easily, using Canva; A free and user-friendly software for creating designs. They even have invitation templates you can use to kick-off your design.
Alternatively, you can make the invitation using an email template tool. For example, with Mailchimp, you can easily create a nice invitation email using their drag and drop tool.
The benefit of using an email template instead of just an image is that you know it’s going to display properly.
Pro-tip: If you’re using an email template tool, send the final version to yourself as a test before forwarding to your guests. Some companies have internal firewalls which might spam the email.
For small events, getting an RSVP by email is the easiest. Especially when you don’t need a definitive headcount, just a ballpark figure.
For larger events (50+) handling RSVPs in your inbox might be a bit overwhelming. Instead, use tools such as jotform or google forms to collect replies.
Pro-tip: Encourage managers to attend. This will increase the overall attendance of your event.
After-work Entertainment Ideas
Now that you’ve planned the event, you’ll want to consider what activities you want to do.
Usually having one central activity is enough. You want to leave some time for socialising and unwinding after a long week of work.
Below you’ll find a few classic after-work entertainment options:
A fun DIY activity to do at corporate events is table trivia or a ‘pub’ quiz. Simply plan a series of questions about the company and other topics for the audience to answer.
To make the game fun, the questions should be silly. Combine internal knowledge/trivia with common knowledge questions. In addition, don’t make the game too long. 10 to 12 questions is plenty.
You’ll want to plan a prize for the winning table. It could be a free pint/glass of wine (or a free soft-drink for the non-drinkers).
Pro-tip: Plan a forfeit (such as singing a song in front of everyone) for any team caught using their phones.
If you aren’t familiar, each player is given a card with different numbers printed on it.
The player then needs to match these with numbers the game host draws at random. When a player finds all the selected numbers are arranged on their card in a row, they call out “Bingo!”.
For every successful bingo, you should hand out a prize (again a drink works well).
If this is something you want to play, print out all the sheets ahead of time and plan some spare pens for the night. You also want to make sure the venue has tables or hard surfaces to write on
A different and really fun take on the classic bingo game is music bingo where a DJ will play songs and if you identify a song on your card you cross it off. It’s a great way to have music and play an interactive game at the same time.
If you’re looking for some truly memorable entertainment, you can hire a magician to entertain your guests.
For after-work parties, magicians are usually booked to perform “mix and mingle” magic. This is where the magician walks among the guests, entertaining them in small groups at a time.
Karaoke is a hilarious activity to put on. With just a speaker, a mic and a projector your guests will have the most fun they’ve ever had.
Check with the venue to see if they have the equipment you need. If they don’t, you might also be able to rent the equipment for the evening or book a karaoke entertainer for the occasion.
Just remember that the idea of doing karaoke probably terrifies some of your guests! Don’t force anyone to take part if they don’t feel like it.
DJ, Band or Singer
Good music makes any party memorable.
If you want the music to be the entertainment of the evening, consider booking a DJ, a band or a singer. They can provide ambient music as people arrive and then fill up the dance floor later on in the evening.
Just make sure it’s appropriate for the size of the room you’re booking. As a rule of thumb, DJ & singers are usually more suitable for small rooms.
If this is your first time booking a band, check out our guide on booking a live band.
Booking a caricaturist for your after-work party is a fun way to entertain your guests and to have them walk away with a unique souvenir.
Only those who are brave enough and ready for a laugh need to ask for a drawing. Either way, caricatures make for a great talking point!
Pro-tip: As a rule of thumb, each drawing takes 5 minutes or less to complete. This will help you make sure you book the cartoon artist for the appropriate amount of time.
You can hire a professional dance troupe to come and do a full show. This activity isn’t just limited to Irish dancing. You can find dance troupes for most forms of dancing.
If you want to learn something new, you can also book a lesson for your employees. However, you do need to plan the space for it. Even if most people don’t get the moves down perfectly, it’s a great way to open the dance floor.
That’s a Wrap
We hope you have an amazing after-drinks party. Remember attendance and entertainment are the two main determinants of a great after-work party.
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