It’s that time of year again – the DJ’s playing Shakin’ Stevens, the dance floor is crowded and the beer is flowing. The festive season is generally a time of celebration, but brings its own set of challenges for you as an employer. The all too familiar scenes of too much alcohol combined with misunderstandings can lead to considerable business disruption long after the night of your Christmas party.
Social events, such as the annual bash are considered to be an extension of the working environment and it’s important that as an employer you take reasonable steps to prevent discrimination, harassment or victimisation.
Here are our tips on how to prepare yourself for the season and minimise the risks to your business:
- Talk to your team – When it comes to acceptable standards of behaviour ensure that these are communicated to your employees. Make sure you stipulate that excessive alcohol consumption is not acceptable and that discriminatory remarks or unacceptable conduct such as fighting, will not be tolerated. Employees should be reminded that there are policies and procedures in place to deal with unacceptable conduct and of the consequences of a breach of these policies.
- It might not be for everybody – Do remember that Christmas is a Christian holiday and there may be some employees who choose not to attend a Christmas party. Therefore, no pressure should be placed on employees to attend. Other employees may have family responsibilities that could also prevent attendance.
- Set limits – It’s a good idea to limit the amount of alcohol that is provided and ensure that food is available to counter-balance the effects of alcohol. Ensure that there are sufficient non-alcoholic drinks for those that do not drink due to religious reasons or any other reasons.
- Help get everyone home safely – It can be greatly overlooked but don’t forget to think about how your employees will get home from the party. You might want to provide transport for employees but if it’s not an option, perhaps ensure that employees are given numbers of reputable cab companies and/or the party ends at a time when public transport is easily accessible.
- Be clear about your expectations – When it comes to absence from work or lateness to work the day after the Christmas party make sure your employees understand what you expect. Any lateness or unauthorised absence should be dealt with under the disciplinary policy, as you would do on any other occasion.
The Christmas party is a great opportunity to show your employees that they’re important to your business and to thank them for their hard work. Proper planning will ensure that workplace issues are kept to a minimum and everyone has a very enjoyable time.
Have a lovely festive season from the Citation team.