Is it too early to be thinking about project team ideas for celebrating the end of the year? Probably not!
And don’t worry about not having anything to celebrate. You made it through another year – that’s enough! If you do have project deliverables or milestones that happen to time with the end of the year, even better, but don’t postpone having a party until you’ve got “something” to celebrate. Working hard all year is enough.
Here are some tips for ending 2019 on a high with your team.
1.Don’t leave it too late
Plan your end of year celebrations now, if you haven’t already started! Many people will be advanced with their planning, and they’ll be booking up the best restaurants and venues.
Also, it takes a while to search for places to go that suit your team and your budget. I remember last year’s Christmas team party for our PMO: we needed somewhere that could cater for vegetarian and gluten free, plus a colleague who was coming in from maternity leave and bringing small baby (and accompanying pram). And we needed it to be cost-effective as we were paying for ourselves. And we wanted to order in advance so we didn’t have ages to wait for the food, because we were on our lunch break! That also meant it had to be close enough to the office to get there and back in a reasonable amount of time.
I scouted out a few venues and found somewhere within our budget, but it took a while.
2.Think outside the restaurants
Over here in the UK, it’s traditional in many companies to have a meal at Christmas with your team. Whether that’s lunch or dinner is up to you. But it isn’t your only choice.
Whether you are celebrating Christmas, another festival, or just marking the passing of another year, food is not your only option for work events. We’ve been out to a comedy club, been sailing (although not something I would do at this time of year) and had a mini-sports day.
You could go to a skating rink, do an open top bus tour to see the lights or something else. Make it accessible. Make it fun!
3. Plan your holiday cards
If you haven’t already, start thinking about who is going to get a holiday card. As the project manager, it’s my responsibility to send cards to the suppliers and colleagues who have supported us through the year.
Ask your Marketing department if they have cards you can use.
You don’t actually need to send a physical card – a nice email with a seasonal picture is enough. Maybe your team could dress up in Santa hats and you take a photo?
4.Manage the team’s liability
Tax rules vary from place to place. Make sure your holiday party/meal and any gifts you give or receive don’t fall foul of local laws.
Here in the UK, my company is limited to annual staff entertaining events totalling £150 per head per year. I believe we could spend this on several different events, like a summer barbecue and a Christmas party, as long as that doesn’t go over. If we go over, we pay tax on the whole amount, and I think there is a liability for the employee as well.
Just be careful what you do, so that no employee ends up with an unexpected tax bill on the ‘benefit’ of having a meal with work colleagues. Check that any project or team event doesn’t conflict with whatever your company might be doing on an ‘all hands’ basis.
Whatever you do, try to make it fun. It’s often not fun for the person organising, because there’s the stress of hoping people have a good time, collecting money, being Secret Santa, organising payments and so on.
Perhaps split the work of organising your holiday celebration between the team, so that the burden doesn’t fall all on one person.
Take photographs! You’ll be glad you did when you look back at the end of the project and see what you managed to achieve, and the relationships you built on the way.
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