According to the National Federation of Independent Business Index of Small Business Optimism, small businesses remain skeptical about the economy. As a result, many small businesses are saying bah-humbug and deciding to cancel annual holiday parties. In fact, only about 60 percent of small businesses plan to host a holiday event this year. That’s down from about 80 percent last year.
The traditional company holiday party is an excellent morale booster and given the current economic climate this year, everyone can use a little holiday cheer. So you don’t have to be a Scrooge. There are ways to host a fun holiday gathering for your employees without breaking the bank. Here are a few ideas
Consider hosting an event during the day rather than the evening. Breakfast or lunch gatherings are less expensive than evening events. Also, the day of the week you select can make a difference too. The least expensive days are Monday and Tuesday when restaurants and other venues are not as busy. You should be able to negotiate a much better deal than hosting your event during a busy holiday weekend.
Host your party in the office or in your home. However, if you choose the office, make sure the environment is festive. Turn on some music and get employees involved with decorations. You don’t want it to feel like another boring business meeting with food.
A Potluck party can be fun and inexpensive. Ask your employees to participate by bringing in a favorite dish. Encourage them to bring copies of their recipes for exchange too. Speaking of recipes, some businesses are opting for a holiday party cooking class instead of a traditional potluck.
Another way small businesses are managing costs is by making the holiday party an employee-only event. If you prefer to allow your employees to invite a guest, ask them to contribute to cover the cost of the additional person.
Bartering is always popular with small businesses so why not barter for your holiday event? You could barter with a caterer or restaurant venue. The same is true for employee or customer gifts.
Conduct a food or clothing drive with your staff and arrange to deliver everything to the designated charity together. Turn it into a fun, festive time that everyone feels good about.
Finally, you don’t have to hold your holiday party in the middle of the holiday season. Consider waiting until January. Not only will you find better deals available, but also you won’t be competing with all the other holiday activities.