The leaves are turning and autumn is here, signaling the brief period of perfect weather that makes us want to cherish every possible moment outdoors.

Fall represents a curious time in the corporate world: we’re looking forward to the holidays and New Year whilst also reflecting on our accomplishments the current year. There’s perhaps no better time than now to throw a party for your colleagues, right?

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Think about it: beyond the benefits of office celebrations such as decreased stress and improved morale, the great outdoors represent the ideal location for your next bash. For starters:

  • Public locations are absolutely free: no worrying about booking fees or reservations
  • You can actually enjoy some fresh air: depending on where you live, this may be the last time you can truly be comfortable outdoors for the next few months
  • Your party isn’t confined to a small space, giving you the perfect opportunity to integrate some fun and games into your shindig

Considering that time is of the essence, where do you start when it comes to planning an outdoor office party?

Double Down on Decorations

Since you don’t have to pay for a pricey location or secure a restaurant reservation, you can afford to splurge on decor to give your party some much-needed life. After all, there’s little more boring for your guests than bare table and a “no fun allowed” vibe, right?

Embrace the season and find the proper decorations to match. For example, you can hop on the pre-Thanksgiving bandwagon with some fun autumn-themed party decorations to get into the holiday spirit.

Pick the Prime Location

Public parks are obviously ideal for outdoor parties since they usually offer some form of seating; however, pick carefully when locking down your location. For starters, ask yourself the following to ensure that your activities go according to plan:

  • Are bugs going to be an issue (especially regarding your food)? For example, is your location near a body of water that could attract mosquitoes?
  • Does your location have power outlets available for lighting fixtures?
  • Do you need to bring your own cover, or is there a gazebo on property?

In short, make sure to scout your potential party location prior to getting your heart set on a particular spot.

Cheap Eats

Outdoor parties allow you to save on your food budget, especially if you make it a potluck affair where everyone contributes. Make sure you discuss with your colleagues how each dish will be allocated: otherwise, make a collection and pick up food accordingly. Since you’ll be outdoors, make sure that you keep meats and perishables cool to avoid foodborne illness.

Don’t Bring Work with You

Although it may be tempting to talk shop during your party, make a conscious effort to leave work at the office rather than bring it with you. Your party should represent an opportunity to unwind, not stress out over your bottom line.

Have a Backup Plan

Let’s face it: mother nature can be quite unpredictable. Assuming a worst-case-scenario such as a thunderstorm, have a backup location in mind such as a co-worker’s house. If all else fails, you could also bring your party back to the office if absolutely necessary.

Outdoor office parties represent something different for your colleagues looking to relax. By having the proper party plan in place, everything should be smooth sailing.