With both companies and individuals finding life tough financially these days, some firms will do away with the office party this season. But a Christmas do for staff doesn't have to cost the earth. Here are a few money-saving tips to save the day.
Speak to the staff
If you're tasked with arranging the Chrimbo knees-up, start by asking your colleagues what's really important to them. If they'd rather go out for a meal than boogie on the dance floor, then at least you won't be wasting money on a get-together that no one's interested in. Similarly, you might be able to save money on grub if they'd prefer that drinks were supplied but were happy to grab some fast food on the way home.
If your office party is a small affair, a meal at a restaurant could prove the cheapest option. You don't need to go for a Michelin starred meal, but equally try to avoid a soulless chain venue. Do a little research and see if a local independent eatery can offer you a good deal. You may get a better price if you go for a lunchtime do instead of an evening meal too, especially if you've left booking late. At the very least, the staff will appreciate an afternoon off!
Demand fuels price rises at this time of year, and venues understandably look to cash in on Christmas. You can save yourself some considerable cash by holding the party in the office itself, provided you have a suitable space. Alternatively, if there are a number of firms in your building, why not have a chat and see if you can club together? Not only will you cut the cost of hiring a venue, but it's a great way for staff from other companies to get to know each other and socialise.
Cut the cost of food and drink
If you've organised the party in your own office, then a buffet is probably the way to go. Finger food is a good deal cheaper than taking the company out for dinner, and if you're lucky enough to have a kitchen on site you can even save yourself a bundle by snapping up supermarket BOGOF deals. Or do you have a regular sandwich delivery company that calls on a daily basis? Perhaps they might be willing to spread some Christmas cheer and give you a good deal.
These days, almost everyone has mobile music available, whether that's through an iTunes account or a streaming service like Spotify, so why bother with a DJ? Canvass opinion on favoured musical styles and you can find something for everyone by creating a playlist that won't cost you a penny. Ask around to see who has a good quality iPod docking system and you can keep everyone happy with the tunes.
Lastly, consider giving the staff a little morning-after leeway to recover. The chances are productivity will be at an all-time low at 9am, so if at all possible, allow for a later start time - after all, it is Christmas!
Have you arranged a Christmas office party for less this year? What advice would you give to other firms looking to save cash? Leave your comments below...