The Ultimate Guide to Year End Functions

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As the year winds down, it’s time to cut loose and relax. It’s a time to reconnect, to reflect on the year, and, most of all, to show off your moves on the dancefloor. Yet, too often, year end functions are a tired, boring affair. The same old routine as last year… and the year before… and the year before that – you get the idea. South African employees largely agree – less than 10% are actively engaged in their work.

That’s where a year end function comes in.

It’s a chance to do something different. To try out new ideas for year end functions and revitalize and reengage the workforce.

No more bland teambuilding exercises. No more wishing it all to be over. Just a year end function to remember.

It’s not too much to ask, is it?

Indeed, with modern technology, you can host virtual events and innovative teambuilding packages that motivate and energize your team. All it takes is a little spark of creativity. (And a few ingenious ideas for year end functions.)

So, if you’re sold on rejuvenating this tired concept – or still need a little convincing – we’ve put together this handy guide to help you plan your year end function. We’ll cover everything from the absolute basics up to a few excellent ideas to get you started.

Let’s dive in!

What is a year end function?

After a long year, a year end function is a big celebration at the end: the grand finale. There are no strict rules around what you can and cannot do. However, typically, year end functions involve a fun party with all the staff.

Often there are teambuilding exercises to encourage people to get involved. There’s likely also a meal, a bar, and a dance floor. Rinse and repeat. We’ve all done it before, and we’ll probably do it again.

Little wonder that many year end functions end up getting out-of-hand: a big boozy rebellion. People are bored. They’re rebelling against the standard HR low engagement party.

Though, it’s not HR’s fault either. Companies often dump the planning of the year end function on HR, on top of everything else. It’s not fair – to anybody.

Why do companies have a year end function?

That all raises a broader question: why do companies even bother with year end functions at all?

To even ask this means we’ve lost sight of their purpose. The year end function isn’t just a formality; it’s a necessity.

Not only are year end functions an opportunity for employees to reconnect, for friendships to form, and a chance to relax – outside of the office. It’s also a massive thank you! If companies want to reengage their staff, they’ve got to meet them halfway. They’ve got to demonstrate their gratitude for their hard work.

And that’s where a creative idea for a year end function helps.

 After all, stories of past year end functions pass into company legend. Years later, people will still tell hilarious anecdotes and memories of their time. It builds loyalty not just to the company but between employees. That’s the ultimate teambuilding experience.

Nor is it ever going to happen at the standard year end function. Not when everyone shuffles off home shortly after dinner.

For a year end function to be successful, it has to break down people’s barriers. It has to get people from all departments to mingle – not to mention those lonely souls who work from home.

So, if you’re thinking about planning your year end function, think of the possibilities. Imagine an enthusiasm- and company culture-building event. A time to laugh, dance, and have fun with your staff. A day with real meaning and real value.

That’s what a year end function can deliver… and much, much more.

How do you organize a year end function?

Wedding tent at night – Special event tent lit up from the inside with dark blue night time sky and trees

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you of the value of year end functions. But if old ideas for year end functions don’t cut the mustard, what should you do instead?

It’s a fantastic question—one with an infinity of answers. Here we’ll discuss how to get organized.

  1. Who is it for?

This sounds easy, right? It’s for the employees.

Yes! But who are your employees? What age are they? What’s the office culture like? And what do they enjoy?

When you’re planning a party or event for anyone, you want to consider them first. The same is true for year end functions. If your company is full of young professionals, more exciting and interactive activities are more appropriate. Whereas, if your office has a more serene, professional culture, perhaps a swanky, elegant casino royale is more their speed.

To help, sketch out a mind map of different ideas based upon a few key attributes of your cohort. But remember the simple lesson: put the employees first.

It is their year end function, after all.

  1. Pick your venue

Once you’ve got a few ideas, it’s time to pick your venue. Naturally, this is going to reflect your theme or event.

Venues can range from opulent hotels to the finest restaurants. It could even be a boat or an atmospheric club. That depends on your budget, the number of attendees, and how far your guests can travel.

Consider how many people there will be and how best to get people to mingle. There’s nothing better than the ambiance of a cocktail party, as people chat the night away.

Or, suppose you opt for a meal: does your venue provide food and beverages? Are there enough tables and chairs? Could you even have an award show to celebrate employees who went above and beyond?

There’s also the small matter of décor. Will the venue handle this, or do you want to personalize the theme?

There isn’t a right answer. It’s all a matter of preference. Just make sure to think things through.

  1. To drink or not to drink?

Most evening events will likely involve alcohol. That can be amazing. Alcohol loosens the tongue and helps people to relax. It also eases up the cliquey nature of departments, forcing people to mix. And, of course, who doesn’t want to dance the night away after a couple of cocktails.

There is a downside, however.

Too much alcohol can ruin a fantastic year end function. Think about how you want to organize alcohol without stamping out the fun.

  1. What’s your entertainment?

DJs. Bands. Keynote speakers. Interactive games. These are what make or break a year end function. They’re the WOW factor. The cherry on top.

Luckily, there’s plenty of options from which to pick. Just try to keep to your overall theme. It’s a little odd if you dive into a hip-hop group after an expensive dinner at a high-class restaurant. While a cabaret singer probably isn’t going to suit a day out on a boat.

If in doubt, there’s always a DJ. They can accommodate any style or theme.

But if you want to try a more creative idea for year end functions. How about a murder mystery, a casino, or a cocktail-making class? These fun activities engage people. And they’re bound to spark some laughs.

Watch the CEO as he goes all in at the casino. Chuckle as the lady from HR puts a little too much rum in her mojito. Or feel the surprise as it turns out your boss was the murderer all along!

Sounds fun? That’s because it is. It just takes a little imagination.

Casual Catering Discussion Meeting Colleagues Concept

What do you do for a year end function in Pretoria?

From the Voortrekker Monument to Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria is a city that’s buzzing. The streets are filled with shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, museums, and more.

That only makes picking the right venue even harder. But don’t worry; we’ve got plenty of ideas.

  1. Classic meal: There’s nothing better than delicious food with your friends and colleagues. Nor does a meal have to cost the Earth. With a vibrant culinary scene, Pretoria has plenty of restaurants from which to pick. Here are a few firm favorites:
    1. Fermier. The number one restaurant in the city. Fermier specializes in high-class food served impeccably. Expect perfect service and value – even if it is on the pricey side.
    2. Burger bistro. It may not be fancy, but it’s delicious. Tuck into a juicy burger and fries, then head into the town afterward.
    3. Tin Roof Café. Vibrant, exciting modern Italian food, served in a stunning outdoor setting. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, this is the place to book.
  2. Go all out: Hire an amazing function venue – like Leribisi lodge – where your employees can dress up and enjoy a beautiful evening. Choose your theme and get to work.
  3. The Collection: Here, you can choose from three settings – the serene outdoor garden, the vintage sports pub, and the Jasmine Hall (with a private courtyard and bar). So, no matter the group, they’ll cater to everyone.

There are just a few ideas to get you started. But how about you don’t stress and let us handle everything. Here at BW Productions, we’re experts in event management. We’ll run the whole show from start to finish – from the entertainment to the venue: the full works.

So, if you’re planning a year end function in Pretoria – we’re ready to organize a night you’ll never forget.

Cropped shot of four friends cheering with drinks at a music festival

What do you do for a year end function in Johannesburg?

  1. Go all in: At Vegas Nights, you can try your hand at Blackjack, Poker, Craps, or Roulette. It’s the ultimate casino-themed venue for a year end function. So, dust off your tux and start counting your chips.
  2. African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa: Even the name oozes style. For an event like nothing else, head to the beautiful, verdant grounds of African Pride Mount Grace Country House. While it’s definitely more expensive than other options – it is the perfect end to a spectacular year!
  3. Greensleeves: Now this one’s just plain fun. Here, you’ll down flagons of ale and dine on delectable grub at this medieval kingdom. Meanwhile, your hosts – dressed in full costume – wait on your every whim. Let’s party like it’s 1395!
  4. Head to the beach. If Joburg doesn’t go to the beach, let the beach come to Joburg. At Clubview – situated between Joburg and Pretoria – there’s 800m2 of white sandy beach to enjoy. Send out the year in style!
  5. The Garden Venue Boutique Hotel: Rock n Roll, Night of the Stars, Carnival, Masquerade Ball, and more. The Garden Venue Boutique Hotel hosts between 12 to 300 guests for any one of their amazing, unique year end functions.

If you’re planning a year end function in Johannesburg, you can’t go wrong with any of the above selections!

Take photo crowd in front of concert stage

What do you do for a year end function in Durban?

  1. Under the sea. At the Ushaka Marine World Aquarium, your employees can marvel at the majestic sea creatures as they enjoy dinner or lunch. The venue caters to 50 to 500 guests, with three-course menus and décor items available.
  2. Sky Bar Venue. With mesmerizing 360o panoramic views, it doesn’t get better than this. Located on the 31st floor of the Maharani Tower, up to 150 people can party the night away, far above the city lights. Truly spectacular!
  3. AmmaZulu African Palace. Located just outside the city, this is a venue not easily forgotten. Overlooking the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve, your guests can bask in the natural beauty as they eat, drink, and relax. An absolute undiscovered gem!
  4. Durban Country Club. No list would be complete without mentioning the swankiest venue in town. Hosting between 10 to 250 people, the Durban Country Club coordinator will tailor everything to your specifications. It never disappoints.
  5. The Bond Shed. Fine dining. Delicious cocktails. The beach on your doorstep. Try something different with a cocktail party right near Durban’s dazzling waterfront. You’ll be amazed at the talent of the mixologists behind the bar.

So, if you’re planning a year end function in Durban, which one are you going to pick?

group of People observing fish at an aquarium

What do you do for a year end function in Cape Town?

  1. Try a vineyard. South Africa is famed worldwide for its wines, so why not sample their delights at a year end function. Hazendal vineyard is on the edge of Cape Town and is steeped in history. With function rooms and catering available, it’s the ultimate year end function location.
  2. The Ranch. As the name suggests, this place is party time in the ol’ Wild Wild West. They offer line dancing, bucking, saloon shooting, the lot. Plus, they cater for up to 450 people – so, the more, the merrier. Get your cowboy boots on, partner; it’s party time.
  3. Hire a boat. With plenty of boat operators catering to year end functions, head out along the Atlantic coastline. They’ll even be a DJ and Braai on board!
  4. Whodunnit? Murder mysteries are the perfect way to spice up the night. But you need a location to match: how about the Alphen Boutique Hotel and Spa. With a luxurious atmosphere and a fabulous menu, there’s no better venue.
  5. Cook together. At Giggling Gourmet, employees can muck and mess around as they attempt fine dining. It’s more than just a team-building exercise. It’s a fun-filled event that’ll be the talk of the office for months to come.

Are you organizing a year end function in Cape Town? If so, did any of the above take your fancy?

Aerial view of entrance of the port of cape town. Commercial docks of cape town harbour.


That’s a wrap! Your ultimate guide to planning a year end function in South Africa.

Year end functions don’t have to be bland and boring. We don’t want to repeat the functions of yesteryear. With a little thought and imagination, we can plan a night we’ll all be talking about forever.

But not everyone has the time to get planning.

That’s why BW Productions is devoted to organizing, planning, and running the best year end functions ever. We’ve got tons of exciting and unique ideas for year end functions for you to explore. And a contact book stuffed with venues, entertainment, and more.

So, if you’re feeling the pressure, let us handle it.

Just don’t let another year slide by. It’s time to reengage South Africa’s employees. It’s time to build loyalty and camaraderie.

It’s time for a year end function with a bang!

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