How To Throw a Home Working Party

One of the difficulties for freelancers or those new business start-ups who work from home is isolation - without a work community your staff parties can be lonely affairs. 

But just because you don’t get to discuss what happened in Eastenders last night over a coffee with your desk buddy doesn’t mean that you can’t hold a social event of your own! 

Why not arrange a working lunch, or even a dinner party for people that you might work closely with over email or the telephone but who you don’t normally get the chance to talk to about anything other than business?

Rosalind Brookman put on her best party frock and discovered some ways to become the perfect party host!

How to Throw a Home Working Party

Make It Easy

After a busy day in your home office the last thing you want to do is have to cook a complicated and time consuming recipe, instead make it easy on yourself.  Casseroles, stews and lasagne are always welcoming when it’s cold, and can be made the night before so that all you need to do on the day is heat them up.

If you’re entertaining during the warmer weather then a dish using cous cous is quick to prepare and always tasty.

Or, if you’re anxious about cooking for a number of people, why not research your local takeaways and order in something a bit more exotic? All you have to do then is find some attractive tableware to lay it all out on!

Don't forget to ask your business associates if they have any food allergies first!

Getting Prepped

Rather than searching desperately through your kitchen drawers for a missing fork, with your hair in rollers half an hour before your guests arrive, make a checklist for the occasion well in advance and be prepared.

Start with the food: what do you need, and where are you going to get it from? Prepare for your home working dinner party by laying the table the night before

If you’re cooking then write out your timescale; start with the time you want to serve up and work backwards, factoring in when you need to put the vegetables on, and when the apple crumble should go into the oven etc. If possible lay the table the night before.

The more that you do before everybody arrives, the more time you’ll be able to spend talking to your guests, rather than getting hot in the kitchen. 

If you really want to be creative then the next time you’re parked off in your home office why not design and print out some place cards.

Also ... a great ice-breaker is to put a couple of sentences of (not too) personal information about each guest on the adjoining place card – once each person has read what’s written they’ll automatically turn to their neighbour to find out more!

It’s All About Ambience

Use candles to give your home working dinner party a warm ambience

Depending on whether your meal is a casual lunch or a more formal dinner then set your scene appropriately with a view to your guests being able to relax and get to know each other.  

Candles are always a warming touch, and fresh flowers displayed well make a room look beautiful.

Choose your music carefully too; you won’t be able to suit everybody’s tastes of course, but thumping house music isn’t going to put anybody at their ease. World music played quietly in the background can be very appealing, and will often provide a conversation starter for everybody as well.

You might be inviting everybody over with a view to completing some outstanding documents, or to discuss a new project, but don’t let work override the main idea of your event, which is to enjoy some convivial (and non-work related) conversation.

If you really have to finish some business then do this in your home office - not over the dinner table - otherwise it’s much harder to break free, and you really don’t want to be passing pie charts to each other instead of pie…

Set a time limit for this kind of activity, and then gently bring it to a halt. Escort your guests to the dining room and let the socialising begin!



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