The end of the holiday season and the beginning of the new year is a great time to pull your people together. Would you like to throw a celebration for New Year’s Eve but aren’t sure what to do? Read on for fun ideas and other considerations.

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What Is a New Year’s Eve Company Party?

A New Year’s Eve company party is a celebration! It usually takes place around the end of December or the beginning of January and is company or colleague-focused. This can look different in different companies, be it virtual or in person, but most importantly, your New Year’s Eve celebration should reflect the values of your organization.

For example, if you want to foster a culture of employee self-care and encourage mental health and wellness, you may announce some extra paid time off around the holidays during the party, or give gift certificates for wellness activities. If you want to foster a collaborative environment, you may choose to do team-building activities at the party.

Why Is Hosting a New Year’s Eve Company Party Important?

Hosting a New Year’s Eve company party is a great way to build comradery among your employees and boost engagement in a fun way.

  • Build engagement. Employee engagement is critical to an organization’s success. The more engaged your workforce, the more productive they are, which in turn leads to greater profits and a strong organizational culture.
  • Team building. Employees with close friendships at work tend to feel less stressed and more positive about their work environment. Company parties and team-building events help to foster these relationships.
  • Company culture. Company parties can contribute to your overall culture because employees will feel appreciated and motivated. A positive culture is a major factor in helping your business become an employer of choice.
  • It’s fun! Company parties can create a safe environment for employees to de-stress and balance out the stress of work or their day-to-day lives. Additionally, not all your employees have big holiday plans at home, and an employer-sponsored event may mean a lot to them during the holidays.

New Year’s Eve Company Party Ideas

There are endless options for your New Year’s Eve party. Stay true to your company’s culture and you’ll have a winning idea!

Food

Provide meals or host a pot-luck. Depending on the time of day, workspace, or scheduling needs, this could be a fully catered meal, snacks, sweet treats, breakfast, or serving platters with a spread of different options. If you choose this option, make sure there is plenty to go around, and account for any dietary restrictions. If you serve alcohol, make sure there’s enough food to help keep people feeling balanced. If it’s a virtual party or you have a remote workforce, consider sending gift cards for a food delivery service such as DoorDash or GrubHub.

Go Off-site

If you want to go off-site for your company party, choose a local venue for your company’s New Year’s Eve celebration. Some local businesses like museums or interactive exhibits act as venues for special events. You could also look for hotel ballrooms, fun bars and restaurants, or dinner cruises. Many of these venues will provide a food and drink option and may offer party-planning assistance.

Midnight Food Bar

Planning to party until the ball drops? Bring in some fun late-night options like a snack and beverage bar. You could include coffee, hot chocolate, and sweet and savory snacks.

Theme It

Have a theme party! If you have employees that love to get involved and make the most of an event, this can be a great way to go. Consider choosing another decade, or a Great Gatsby theme, movie premier, or maybe a fun color scheme. You can decorate the office to fit the theme with lights, theme decorations, signs, balloons, etc.

Have a Ball Drop

Make your employees feel like they are in person for the moment the clock strikes 12:00, and create your own version of the ball drop. You could use balloons, confetti, a giant clock, or whatever fits your theme. If you’re handy, there are plans to make a DIY countdown clock online, or you can purchase one.

New Year’s at Noon

Throw a Noon Year’s Eve party! This is a simple theme to incorporate into working hours. Set aside some time mid-day to host your party (you can play games, serve lunch, or just have people step away to do some socializing), and at noon you can do the countdown. You could do this the day before a holiday or weekend and allow employees to leave early.

Once you’ve decided your goals for the party and how to structure it, spice it up with some of the ideas below.

Swag

Give out company swag! Employees love receiving company swag like branded mugs or cups, mousepads, shirts, pens, etc. You could choose items that are seasonal or related to the New Year’s theme (blankets, jackets, cocktail glasses, etc.), or other items.

Games

Play games! There are a lot of fun party games and icebreakers that can be found online. Some platforms even host virtual game nights or other themed parties for a remote workforce. You should feel free to get creative here. You could ask your employees to complete an escape room, bring in favorite board games or casino games (maybe to raise money for a local charity), have a photo “booth” with props and a backdrop, or other favorite party activities.

Music

Put together an inclusive playlist! Survey your employees to get their favorite songs to play during the party so that everyone can hear a couple of songs they love. If you have it in the budget, consider getting a DJ or having live music.

Appreciation

Give recognition. There is never a bad time to remind your employees how valuable they are and how important they are to the success of your organization. Whether it be a speech, one-on-one interactions, handwritten notes, an interactive sticky note board, or small group conversations, take every opportunity to recognize and affirm employees. They should leave the party feeling positive and re-energized for the work they do.

Tips for Hosting a Remote New Year’s Eve Company Party

Obviously, if you have a remote or hybrid workforce, it’s a little more challenging to truly engage and include everyone. Here are a few tips and ideas on how to deal with parties that aren’t in person.

Tip 1: Make It Interactive

Regardless of where everyone is located, they should feel included and be able to participate. Think about including icebreakers or a team-building activity that can be done remotely. There are great ideas online for how to do this, and plenty of platforms that will host it for you, from online games to virtual escape rooms.

Tip 2: Plan Ahead

Some remote party ideas may require you to send items to your employees ahead of time, like bingo cards or small gifts. If you’re going to incorporate something like this, make sure to give yourself plenty of time.

If your workforce lives across time zones, be sure and plan the party for the best time for all to participate. If you can’t, consider breaking up your workforce by time zone and throwing more than one party.

Tip 3: Have Fun!

A virtual party should leave employees feeling energized and positive. Have everybody wear their worst holiday outfit and pose together on Zoom for a group photo.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About New Year’s Eve Company Party

Play ice breakers or games that engage all attendees. Choose a variety of activities so there is something for everyone, and look for opportunities to get people involved in the way that suits them.
It depends on your company’s objectives and your employees’ desires and needs. It may be easier for employees with outside obligations to participate at a party during work hours. If attendance is mandatory, or if significant others or families are not invited, a party during work hours is your best bet.

Colleen manages a team of HR consultants that work with a variety of industries, specializing in the fields of human resources, strategic planning, and human capital management. Colleen applies expert knowledge, industry experience, and relentless energy to solving companies’ issues. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management as well as women in leadership groups. She is PHR, SPHR, and SHRM-SCP certified. She has an awesome pet cat, Attila and, when she’s not working she loves to travel, enjoy the great outdoors, and volunteer with different local charities.

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