I’ve lost count of the number of advertisements I’ve seen for Christmas parties recently, aimed at both families and companies. It’s time to get that work Christmas party venue booked and make plans for the entertainment and catering!
It’s easy to forget about the potential pitfalls of a work Christmas party. If you provide employees with an unending supply of alcoholic beverages the party can take a turn for the worse.
The case involving Northampton Recruitment Limited from 2011 is still going through the Court of Appeal almost 7 years later. It serves as a stark reminder that sometimes alcohol combined with a work social event can result in problems for employers. It can result in minor indiscretions and over exuberance which is not entirely unexpected. But in a (hopefully) small number of cases, it can result in behaviour which is career-limiting, or worse.
Tips for success
Each year a large number of articles are written about the perils of office parties. They offer advice to employers on how to make sure the celebrations go smoothly.
Our 5 top tips are:
- Make sure employees know that office parties are an extension of work. Even if the party is off-site and after normal working hours everyone should behave professionally. It IS possible to have fun AND remain professional at the same time.
- Consider how people will get home late at night. Ensure you communicate the parameters before the event, for example if and when it’s acceptable to take a taxi home.
- Try to limit the amount of free alcohol available, and include non-alcoholic drinks. With the best will in the world, some people just don’t have the self-control to turn down free drinks. Don’t make it too easy for employees to over-indulge.
- When planning the party, include an activity for employees to engage in. It could provide a team-building opportunity, as well as a distraction from continuous drinking and ensures the event caters for those who don’t drink alcohol.
- Ensure the senior team lead by example, take responsibility and monitor employee behaviour. That way they can address any issues before they get out of hand.
Following these top tips should ensure a good-time is had by all. If you’re lucky, no-one will be dreading returning to work the morning after – although I make no promises on that front!
If you’re worried about your Company’s Christmas party, or need any advice in dealing with the aftermath of a Company social event of any kind, please do get in touch.