The Office Christmas party

6th December 2016

Well it’s that time of year again and the Company has invited you all to join in the festivities with them at their  Christmas ‘do’!

For some this is a real opportunity to bond as a team and get to know their colleagues better in a relaxed environment. Managers can formally thank everyone and perhaps celebrate success with some individuals who have performed exceptionally well. Everyone can have a jolly good laugh wearing silly hats, pulling crackers and getting involved in Secret Santa. A Christmas party has a good mix available.

Unfortunately for a minority it’s also the opportunity to down as much free alcohol as possible and tell management exactly what they think of them! In addition to other extra-curricular activities that warrant exclusion from this blog!

Office parties are certainly a good mechanism for boosting morale and with a bit of thought and careful planning can be a real team builder and motivator. The clue is in the word party.

Companies should note that employment law applies to these events even when they are held in establishments other than the workplace. This is the crux of the matter and is a management call based on the culture of their workplace ie How much do they remind the employees what is acceptable behaviour without laying down the law!

It’s fair to say that the majority of disciplinaries and grievances that emanate from these events are as a result of too much alcohol; so there’s a good start point.

We would always advise an appropriate level of communication whether it be formal or informal. Employees should be reminded that work place rules still apply regardless of location and that they should all enjoy themselves whilst not over indulging. Managers should be reminded not to get into ‘career development/remuneration’ discussions as well; those are for the workplace!

Organisers should limit the amount of company provided alcohol available, provide non-alcoholic options and food. They should consider the venue and be as inclusive as possible. There will be employees who don’t drink alcohol, can only have certain types of food, and may be offended with some forms of entertainment.

It might also be worth considering putting on transport to mitigate any potential drink driving issues that might occur.

Even with all the right preparation in place, things can go wrong. So you must be prepared to deal with issues in line with the Company’s policies and procedures. Just because its off site, a party and Christmas doesn’t mean different rules apply.

If you want to discuss this with one of our HR experts, then please feel free to give us a ring. We’d like to also take the opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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