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How to Plan for a Work Holiday Party

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A handful of holidays are approaching, so it’s time for fun, seasonal activities! If you are planning a company holiday party, it can come with a lot of responsibility. To ensure your party is enjoyable for everyone, you need to fulfill all your employees’ party needs. Your checklist can seem daunting, from budget to entertainment to party decor. If you’re unsure where to begin, start with these seven steps to ensure your work party runs smoothly.

Select a Date and Time

The first step to planning any event is to choose a date and time that works best for you and your guests. Since many people travel during the holidays, plan your work event at least two months in advance to avoid any conflicts. Try aiming for a date in early- December or mid-January when your guest’s calendars are more available. Once you find the perfect date, decide if you want your party to take place during work hours, after work, or on the weekend.

Each choice has its benefits, so consult your guests on which time of the day they prefer. If your company has flexible break times or offers early release, throwing a party during a workday is your choice. Having a party can ensure your employees can celebrate without worrying about commuting to a venue. Meeting after hours or on the weekend can provide your employees escape from the work environment, inviting them to have fun and relax more easily.

Determine Your Budget

It can be easy to get carried away while planning your big holiday event. Every company wants to make their work party memorable, but it’s essential not to break the bank in the process. Solidifying a budget before putting money towards your party can help make sure you don’t overspend. Work with your boss or manager to create a budget you can afford. After you finalize a total amount, start breaking down your budget into smaller amounts for each party’s needs.

While developing your budget, start with the areas that will cost you the most. For example, if your event is after hours, invest a good chunk of your budget in your venue of choice. Then you can start with how much money you can spend at this venue on food, drinks, and entertainment. Try not to skimp out on the amount of money you put towards gifts or employee recognition awards. After all, your holiday party is to treat your fellow employees.

Book a Venue

The place you choose to entertain your guest can make or break your party. While selecting a venue, consider a location that is easy to navigate. If you live in a city, try picking an area near public transportation or offering transportation services such as Uber, so all your guests can come. Select a location less than 30 minutes from your office to make it more cost-effective. Make sure your venue is accessible and desirable to your guests by viewing the space beforehand.

Select a venue that accommodates everyone to ensure your employees and their guests enjoy the party. If most of your guests bring family members, make sure your forum is kid-friendly. If your employees want more competitive activities, consider having your holiday party at an arcade or bowling alley. Make sure there is room for everyone by creating a guest list before booking the location. Once you find a venue that works best for you, book it quickly before it’s gone.

Pick Your Menu

Now it’s time to talk about the main event- food. If you are hosting your party anywhere besides a restaurant, you must hire a caterer to provide food for your guests. Choose a caterer you know everyone will enjoy by planning meals with your team beforehand. Once you’ve determined a cuisine everyone will enjoy, decide which dinner style best fits your holiday party theme.

If your party is more of a sit-down event, consider serving a full meal to keep your guest seated and focused on the entertainment. If you are planning an event that requires physical activity, it may be easier to serve your guests buffet style. This style makes it easier for guests to grab their food on the go and get back to their activities. Whichever culinary format you choose, provide alternative options for those who may have dietary restrictions. If you are serving dishes containing popular food allergies such as nuts or gluten, make it known by providing signs that list the ingredients included.

Choose your entertainment

There’s nothing better than dinner and a show. Keep your guests entertained by providing them with entertainment throughout their party. An easy way to provide entertainment could be a group activity or icebreaker. If you want to stick to a holiday theme, try incorporating the holiday into the games. For example, if you are throwing a Santa-themed party, provide trivia questions asking you to name all of Santa’s reindeer.

Consider renting out games such as bag toss or darts for more interactive entertainment. Collaborate games can help form relationships and bonding experiences with your employees. If you want to go the musical route, rent a local band or DJ to keep the party energized. Setting up a staging area can also be a platform to make speeches or hand out awards by the end of the event.

Purchase Decorations and Party Favors

Don’t skimp out on your holiday decor. Go with decorations to make your event memorable and unique for your guests. If your climate doesn’t reflect a winter wonderland, create your own by dimming the lights and turning on battery-operated candles. Who needs actual snow when you have cotton balls and shredded white paper? The more creative you get, the more you can save.

What’s a party without party favors? A party favor can be anything from a bag of sweet goodies to a $25 gift card. If you have a small number of employees, consider giving each employee a personalized holiday card. As long as you show your employees you are thinking of them during the holidays, any gift will show your appreciation.

Celebrate Your Employees

Your business wouldn’t be successful without the hard work of your team. Show appreciation for your employees by recognizing team and individual success. Employee recognition can be done in many ways, most commonly through a speech at the beginning or end of the event. Some key notes to highlight in your speech include announcing outstanding achievements, goals, and improvement areas. Present employees that worked above and beyond with gifts or rewards to make the moment special.

While celebrating your employees, make sure all your workers are included. Employees that work remotely can often feel left out of social events. If possible, try live streaming your events so team members outside of the city or state can still celebrate with their team. If you are handing out awards and gifts, mail them out to those who couldn’t attend in person.

Enjoy Your Evening

It can be easy to get lost in the moment of perfecting all the details of your party that you forget to enjoy the party yourself. Follow the checklist above so you can join your employees in celebrating the holiday season. If you’re still unsure what to include in your event, consider the work parties you’ve been to and incorporate the parts you enjoyed. Spread happiness and joy this holiday season with a party your employees will never forget.

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Featured Image Credit: Photo by Nicole Michalou; Pexels; Thank you!

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Politics

Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Politics

Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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