SVC Solutions HR Partner Laura Wright offers advice on how to ensure office Christmas parties are enjoyed by all…with no enduring hangovers.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and a chance to celebrate the festive season with an office party.
But you don’t want to be left with more than a hangover from the event.
Christmas parties are a great chance to forget the pressures of daily working life and just enjoy your colleagues’ company and celebrate the year’s successes.
But it is important to remember, letting your hair down at Christmas parties can potentially lead to some serious HR issues and, as such, every effort should be taken to prevent them.
Sometimes people can overstep the mark if they have had a bit too much to drink leading not only to a risk to staff members but also the employer who is liable for inappropriate actions.
In the case of P v Crest Nicholson Operations Ltd (2020), the employer was found to be vicariously liable for sexual harassment after a senior employee was accused of abusing his position of trust and of sexually assaulting another employee after leaving the party.
Here at SVC Solutions, we have drawn up a list of dos and don’ts which can protect your business and your employees:
- Don’t force everyone to attend – respect people’s choices. After all, this is a party, not work
- Don’t take any disciplinary action at the party – it’s not the time nor the place. If you need to discuss something afterwards, do so during the working week
- Don’t allow employees to drive home after they have been drinking. You have a responsibility for their welfare and they will thank you later
- Do consider a venue that is accessible for all and entertainment that is appropriate. You want everyone to enjoy the occasion
- Do set pre-party guidelines and expectations of behaviour. This might prevent incidents and ensure everyone has a good time without regrets
- Do set post-party expectations, regarding attendance at work the next day. As long as everyone understands what is expected of them, there can be no excuses
- Most importantly, Do have fun! This is a chance to say thanks for all the hard work and create some good memories
If you do find yourself with an employee relations problem, our dedicated and experience HR team at SVC Solutions are here to help and advise.