With two-thirds of all office workers either indifferent or fully dreading office holiday parties, it's no wonder the annual event has gotten a bad reputation.
OfficeTeam research found that only 36 percent of professionals think office holiday parties are fun—leaving a whopping 64 percent who feel "meh" about them and 35 percent who actively dislike the annual tradition.
So how do you plan an office party in Grand Rapids—the land of unpredictable weather—that appeals to everyone? It's hard to please both the CEO, who's often concerned about costs and people behaving themselves, and employees who are "in the trenches" and often just want a chance to relax, connect and spread a little holiday cheer.
Here's are five Grand Rapids events, venues and activities that will inspire you to get out of your office party rut and create a magical event that's affordable, fun and inclusive.
MOST FUN FOR A GOOD CAUSE
Holiday Scavenger Hunt Benefiting a Local Nonprofit Organization
Competition—the good-natured kind—has a unique way of bringing people together, especially if it's for a good cause. A holiday scavenger hunt is a fun, easy way to connect with your colleagues using a holiday theme. The game can be custom designed to your group so it automatically feels more engaging and memorable. You have the option of an indoor or outdoor hunt as well as incorporating your own history and culture. You and your team also get to pick the nonprofit organization you'd like for your hunt to benefit!
Lights at the Fifth Third Ball Park
For 21 years, West Michiganders have been awed by the two miles of lights assembled at the Fifth Third Ball Park. Rent a van or bus and drive the whole team through it together! Serve hot cocoa out of a thermos while everyone "oohs" and "ahhs"; afterward head to a nearby bar or restaurant for a little socializing.
EASIEST TO PLAN
The Great Escape Room
This downtown attraction has five different rooms your team(s) can work through to solve together. It's all-inclusive, so other than finding a time everyone can get away from the office together, escape rooms are one of the easiest activities office managers can plan.
GRAM and Food Trucks
If affordability is what you seek, Grand Rapids Art Museum is free to attend on Tuesdays! Not the best day for your team? The GRAM is still worth a visit. Hit up the museum on a Thursday and spring for lunch for everyone from the food trucks parked just outside its steps.
Why not combine team building, giving back and your office party into one? Work with a local charity like Family Promise or the Veterans Home to put together care baskets in the conference room and deliver them to the organization. Pair it with a team potluck and you've got a cozy, affordable—yet meaningful—holiday activity for the office.
TIPS TO MAKE ANY HOLIDAY MORE SUCCESSFUL:
- Include everyone, even those who are more introverted—recognize your wins together!
- Different people bring different strengths and skills—celebrate that.
- Focus on business goals and objectives and have fun! You just have to be creative.
- Take pictures! You want to be able to remember these moments.
How about you? Do you hate or love office holiday parties? What locations in Grand Rapids do you think make perfect holiday party venues?
Jill Hinton Wolfe, co-founder of Grand Rapids-based GO Scavenger Hunts, is a communicator, entrepreneur, and Army veteran who is passionate about designing surprising and unique experiences for clients. She loves books, backpacking with her girlfriends, and learning to love football with her husband, two children and three stepsons.
Photo courtesy of JIll Wolfe.