• Top tips for employers for an office Christmas party

    Published: November 22 2019

    With Christmas fast approaching, most employers will have an office Christmas party at their offices or a different venue. No matter where the party takes place, the location should always be considered an extension of the workplace. An employer still has a duty of care to employees, who should be reminded that they are representing the organisation and are still expected to act accordingly.

    Things to consider before, during and after the work Christmas party

    Christmas party invitations

    Ensure that you invite all employees to the party even if they are absent at the time, such as thorough sickness or on maternity leave. Include all staff of different faiths for whom Christmas is not a significant festival. While the offer should be open to all staff, you should in no way pressurise them to attend.

    Setting ‘ground rules’

    Do you have a policy in place to provide clear written guidelines to staff members setting out the expected behaviour at these type of events? Ensure that the policy highlights what is considered as inappropriate behaviour and unacceptable, and be prepared to deal with this in line with the organisation’s policy. This can include violence, illegal drug use, harassment, using inappropriate language and so on. Be consistent in how you apply the policy.

    Also, if you have a social media policy or rules in place, then remind staff of this before the party to avoid risk to reputation by inappropriate photos or messages that may be posted by staff members.

    Alcohol and Food

    If you are providing free alcohol at the party then you could control the amount by putting limits to prevent excessive alcohol intake. Ensure that you have non-alcoholic drinks available at the party. Food available at the party should cater for all attending, including those with specific dietary requirements, allergies or religious reasons.

    Designated Managers

    It may be beneficial to have some nominated managers to deal with any emergencies or incidents that arise. Staff should be informed of who these managers are so that any issues can be reported to them.

    After the Christmas party

    You may consider arranging transport at the end of the night or if possible the party should be finished in time for people to use public transport. You could also arrange for licenced taxis for staff or provide details to staff so that they can make their own arrangement.

    Another consideration for employers is that if the day after the party is a work day. The expectation should be that those who are working should be at work. You may want to think about if you wish to be lenient or not if somebody is late or absent. In any case, you should communicate to all staff the consequences of being late or failing to attend work.


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