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Ask Timpo: Should I invite “significant others” to the office party?

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A: In principle, you should invite everyone and probably include their partners as well. But it depends on the party and the people you employ.

There is no point in asking colleagues to come to a party that they dread. If you want to celebrate success, you must devise an event that all ages and types can enjoy. A stuffy formal dinner won’t appeal to the young guys in the warehouse. And a disco won’t attract the long-service ladies in customer care.

Last Christmas, we took everyone to a hotel in Manchester for food, drink and a casino night (we gave them pretend money to play with and gave prizes to the participants who finished with the biggest pot). It worked. They all enjoyed the night – even though those of us over 60 disappeared before the disco started.

If you are celebrating a particular business achievement, why not link the party with an award ceremony to recognise the superstars? Whatever you do, plan it carefully. Ideally, your colleagues will look forward to the event, have a great time on the day and be left with happy memories.

If you’re worried it won’t work, forget the party and just give them a bigger bonus.

John Timpson runs high-street cobbler Timpson, which has 800 branches nationwide and sales of £150m. Got a question for him? Post it in the comments box below.

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