Over the years, it has become more common for co-workers to host baby showers and bridal showers at the office. An office party should be simple, tasteful, and fun while being sensitive to colleagues' schedules. Of course, given the professional environment, the guidelines for office showers are a bit different from showers in a social setting.
Before you put any plan in motion, it's critical to get management approval if you wish to host the shower in the office, even if it will be during everyone's break time or after work hours. Any office party is bound to disrupt the typical daily workflow, so it's key to have the bosses on your side. Additionally, check with honoree's supervisor to make sure the employee will be available at the planned shower time.
After you've received the green light, enlist the help of a couple co-workers to divide the shower tasks. For instance, one person can be in charge of organizing refreshments while the other can collect contributions and spread the word to other colleagues. Meanwhile, you can orchestrate setting up and cleaning up the party, as well as getting the honoree there at the right time.
Guests and Gifts
Try to schedule the shower during lunchtime when it is easiest for employees to take a break. Keep the event to under an hour or whatever your boss approves.
If you work in a large corporation, limit your guest list to the honoree's department and close friends in other areas of the company. But if you're at a small company, it's polite to extend an open invitation to everyone who will be at work that day.
Attendees can purchase gifts for the honoree or contribute to a combined gift. Under no circumstances should it be mandatory that people bring or put money toward a gift. The person responsible for collecting contributions should make that clear when approaching co-workers.
Choosing an appropriate gift might be difficult for some of your colleagues. Direct them to any registries the honoree has, or give them some suggestions of stores from which the honoree would appreciate a gift certificate. It's often easiest for everyone in the office to chip in for one larger registry item.
For refreshments, you can ask everyone to contribute an appetizer or another small dish, or you can collect money to purchase crowd-pleasing food, such as a sandwich tray. Take into consideration what the honoree likes to eat, as well as any dietary restrictions. If financial contributions are low, then limit the food to a cake or other baked good, and let everyone know the party is just dessert.
Also, remember alcohol is inappropriate in an office setting. Serve a nonalcoholic punch instead.
If you plan to go out to a restaurant with your colleagues, make reservations at least two weeks in advance.
Games and Decorations
It's not likely that you'll be able to fit shower games into the tight party schedule. But if you want to try a game, keep it simple and a little less personal than what you might play in a social setting. For instance, at an office baby shower, hang up baby photos of celebrities and have guests guess who they are. That way, everyone can get involved, regardless of how well they know the honoree.
Likewise, keep decorations simple so you don't have to spend much time on setup and cleanup. A cluster of festive balloons and a banner will help to set the party mood.