With Christmas just around the corner many companies are preparing themselves for the Christmas party. Whilst these can be a great boost for morale, they can be a particularly big issue for managers, with many having to decide how to ensure employees behave appropriately and how to deal with worse-for-wear workers who turn up late the morning after the big event. This practical guide will help ensure a trouble-free office party so you don’t need to be the Grinch who stole Christmas!
Code of Conduct
Send out a simple reminder in advance of the party to say that while you hope they really enjoy themselves, there are certain standards of conduct which must be adhered to in order to ensure that everyone has a good time.
While you might want to provide some free drinks for employees to reward them for their hard work over the year, remember that a free bar throughout the evening will encourage excessive alcohol intake. You may therefore want to consider placing a limit on the amount of free alcohol provided. And it’s a good idea to make sure there’s plenty of food available throughout the event.
It is also important to respect those who choose not to drink alcohol either for religious reasons or through personal choice. Ensure that there are plenty of non-alcoholic drink options and lots of water. Keep an eye out too for any younger members of staff – employers cannot allow under-18s to drink.
Be considerate in the way in which you plan the party. Remember that not all religions celebrate Christmas so don’t put undue pressure on anyone to attend the party who might not want to. Ensure that the venue is suitable for disabled employees and that any special dietary requirements are noted in advance and catered for.
Be aware of the likelihood of pictures and videos from the party being posted on social media. Make sure your employees know exactly what your rules are regarding the use of social media in relation to work and work related events.
Christmas Party Romance
It is not uncommon for office romances to blossom at a Christmas party.
Remember though that despite its festive atmosphere, an office Christmas party is legally an extension of the office environment even if it is held offsite and outside working hours.
Employers are therefore likely to remain liable for conduct carried out by their employees. If any allegations of inappropriate behaviour are made during or after the event, employers should follow their usual disciplinary process and ensure that any complaint is investigated thoroughly before action is taken.
Do not discipline any employees at the party itself. Send them home if necessary and deal with the incident when you are back at the office – and sober.
The Morning After
Be clear about your expectations regarding absence the next day – but don’t expect miracles from those who do turn up for work. Ensure that all staff know the extent to which you will be lenient about coming to work late and that, if your expectations are breached, disciplinary action may be taken.
Hopefully with the boundaries set and understood in advance the Christmas party will be a very merry one for all involved – and with no unwanted hangover for the company to deal with!