With December just around the corner, many employees are looking forward to the festivities, Secret Santa, and the most talked about event of the year – the Christmas party! For business owners, the idea of encouraging the team to let their hair down, to display their best moves on the dance floor seems like a great use of the company budget. After all, it bonds the team, helps form new relationships and motivates your employees, right?
My most accurate response to this is, “well, yes, in part, but no, kind of!” Why? The ultimate optimist, and someone who loves a few drinks myself, sees huge benefit in team social events. The HR professional in me sees floor-to-ceiling risk! Now, I’m not advising you cancel all plans, but let me help you prepare by arming you with some information that can help you create some boundaries. Legally speaking, the Christmas party’s an extension of the office, even if it’s held offsite and outside normal working hours. Here’s a few useful facts to take into consideration;
- 43% of employees who drink alcohol have said there’s too much pressure to drink when socialising with work colleagues, with pressure coming from a senior leader (Drinkaware, 2019).
- 2 million employees call in sick the day after the Christmas party. Think of the lost productivity! (NAHL)
- Alcohol does strange things to people and you remain liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and unwanted conduct. Don’t misread any Mistletoe madness.
- There’s an increase of up to 30% in traffic accidents during December (NAHL). As the employer, you may be vicariously liable for this.
- Millennials and Gen-Zers are said to be drinking less than the other generations. Social media’s thought to be attributed to this, as drunk photos being posted on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are not welcomed.
As a business owner, have you woken up the following day, taken something for the headache and realised one of the above’s taken place in your business? Have you sat with your head in your hands wishing there was a ‘Big Red Button’ on hand, such that someone would be there to help you address the problem? Ideally, we prefer to build a relationship in advance of these incidents but if we’re not lucky enough to be working with you yet, here’s some of the things you should consider if you’re hosting a Christmas party:
- Remind employees, and brief your management team about the company’s expectations; dress code, behaviour and alcohol consumption;
- Consider the next-day attendance arrangements. Do employees really need to be in the office, or can they work remotely?
- Control the amount of free alcohol and make sure food and non-alcoholic drinks are provided. Not everyone drinks;
- Be prepared to deal with any inappropriate behaviour head-on and in line with your company policies;
- Set the social media policy and consider GDPR. Not everyone wants to have their photo on social media;
With just a week until December, you have time to address this – If you’d like any help or to discuss the above, please do call us on 01604 746760 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to know more? Call us on 01604 746760 or email email@example.com