The Melbourne Cup is almost upon us and just because you’re stuck at the office, doesn’t mean you can’t stop to celebrate like the rest of the nation. To get into the race day spirit, simply bring highlights of the big event to work. Here’s how, with some fun decorating, games and catering.

Set up your grandstand

While it’s not likely you have the space to set up a grandstand at the office, you can dedicate an area to race day festivities. The number one item you need is a television to watch the race, preferably with a big screen. The next most important thing is food! Give staff a treat - and yourself a break - by having lunch or afternoon tea catered for. Easy ideas include a hot dog stand or perhaps some high tea cakes and sandwiches, jazzed up with delicious sandwich fillings in Sydney.

Decorate the desks

Before your employees arrive on November 6, decorate the office to get everyone in the mood right out of the gate. Hang rows of colourful bunting, themed balloons and horseshoe cutouts on the walls. Place a cardboard jockey hat, miniature horse or fake trophy on each desk. Set the lunchroom up with champagne flutes - even if it’s just for soft drink - so everyone knows they’re in for a special day. 

Have a free dress day

Melbourne Cup is the perfect excuse to dress to impress. If wear standard corporate attire or uniforms are the dress code at your office, hold a free dress day so staff can pop on a hat, a fascinator or a swanky tie. You can also get jockey outfits, horse masks and riding crops from costume suppliers. For extra fun, award prizes for the best or most creatively dressed person, or set up a mini catwalk so staff can strut their stuff for each other’s amusement.

Organise a competition

Chances are, staff will have already placed their bets for the Melbourne Cup before the day. However, it’s a great idea to hold your own office competition to add another element of anticipation. All you need to do is have staff randomly draw horse numbers from a hat. The person with the winning ticket gets a prize, which could be anything from a weekend away to a box of chocolates or even an early mark – depending on your budget!

Play a few games

Set aside some time before the race to play themed games to get everyone in the mood. Melbourne Cup office trivia sets the scene, with a series of questions about history, jockeys, horses or fun facts. You can print out Melbourne Cup crosswords online, divide staff into teams and see who can finish first.

For some lighthearted laughs, play ‘Pin the Tail on the Horse’ with a blown up image of one of this year’s contenders...or the boss if you can get away with it!