How to Plan an Introvert Friendly Office Holiday Party

How to Plan an Introvert Friendly Office Holiday Party

Greetings, all! It’s AR’s resident introvert, Dr. Hinson, here, with my top tips for planning an introvert friendly holiday party at the office. Coming into the last month of the year, it’s the time for office get-togethers, after work drinks, and other celebratory events. For those of you unaware, these types of events can be kryptonite for the introverts in your office. Social gatherings drain introverts of their energy and many are further drained by external stimuli such as music, lights, and decorations.

So what does this mean for the office manager or person in charge of employee engagement activities? How can you plan an office party that is fun and engaging without excluding half your staff? Here are my top tips for ensuring a holiday party that’s enjoyed by all!

Location, Location, Location

This is one of the more important considerations for any office party. You should consider the level of stimulation in each locale – how is the lighting, what is the decoration style, would it potentially be overwhelming for the highly-sensitive employees? Consider whether there are multiple types of spaces available. Does the venue have a room that would be more comfortable for quieter, more in-depth socializing? A common myth about introverts is that they are anti-social. They usually love to socialize, with smaller groups, where they can control the external stimuli and enjoy a more in-depth conversation. Make sure when you are looking at venues, or even having at the office, you think about the different social spaces that are available and how you can use them to feel inclusive.

Preparation and Planning

Preparation and planning are two things that every introvert needs. Especially when they have to attend a larger social gathering. This tip goes for both your office introverts and your party planner. Giving your introverted employees time to prepare and plan for how they will engage in the event will help them feel comfortable. Talk to them before hand and get their advice on how to make it more inclusive. Most introverts are used to faking extroversion because that’s considered more socially ‘acceptable.’ However, forcing introverts to perform extroversion not only drains their energy but doesn’t allow them to be their authentic selves. Considering the importance of attending the party, this may mean that you offer your introverts the afternoon off to prepare and rest, or allow them to come late or leave early, to minimize their time at the party.

Communication is Key

As a leader in your office, understanding how the different personality traits of your employees can impact office culture is an essential part of your job. Being aware of these differences, how they manifest, and how they can impact employee relationships is only half the battle. The other half is the importance of communicating these differences to the rest of your staff. Having open, clear communication about how people socialize is crucial to managing a resilient culture. Misunderstandings, perceptions, and rumors can negatively impact employee relationships. Address these concerns head on, by communicating about the key differences between personality traits. This will ensure that introverts (and extroverts) feel comfortable being themselves.

Holiday parties, like any office outing, are necessary for building stronger bonds between your staff. However, doing so at the expense of 30-50% of your employees (the statistics behind how many introverts work for you), can effect issues like turnover, retention, and employee engagement. While you’re thinking about this year’s holiday party, hopefully these three tips will help you create an event that is inclusive and enjoyable for everyone!

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