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A How To Guide For Office Christmas Parties

Office Christmas Parties gone wrong are a folklore category all to themselves. As the silly season approaches, here are a few tips for ensuring you don’t write you or your business into the history books.

It’s that time of year again – the office Christmas party.

And, like many business owners & managers, you might be just trying to get to the end of the year unscathed without the thought of planning the office Christmas party for your staff.

However, if you’re planning an end-of-year party to celebrate the year that’s been, there are a few things to consider so your celebration doesn’t snowball into an HR disaster.

It’s important to remember as employers, we have an obligation to look after the health & safety of our staff no matter when the party takes place – especially if it’s offsite or after hours. To make sure your party doesn’t go awry, here are a few things to consider.

1. Set expectations beforehand.

Of course, people should enjoy themselves, but it’s important to remind them it’s still a work function, so their behaviour should reflect accordingly. It’s all about being safe.

It’s a good idea to remind your staff to monitor and limit their alcohol consumption and share your drug & alcohol policy. Setting these expectations & standards upfront ensures your keeping your employees safe & covering yourself for any potential HR issues. 

If someone should then breach these policies, you’ll already have taken the first step to follow a proper process.

2. Limit the supply

The office Christmas party is usually a highly anticipated event. Your team will be excited to celebrate the year, and it’s easy for things to get carried away. Anticipate this by setting a limit on what’s supplied or the amount. This could save you the mountain of issues that follow when these rules aren’t set in place.

A limited bar tab, for example, set’s the standards for your staff and will likely discourage excessive drinking. As a safety, you can also physically serve the alcohol to your staff, allowing you to cut off those who need it without causing a scene.

3. Organise transportation

Getting your staff to and from the party safely is essential and is something your company should ideally help organise. Provide options and set clear standards that driving under the influence will not be tolerated.

4. Avoid awkward work chats.

The Christmas party really isn’t the place to start discussing promotions or office politics. Best to avoid these discussions entirely.

5. Finally, have fun & get to know your staff a little better.

Your employees only ever see you in a work environment. They’ll appreciate seeing a more informal side of their leaders and managers. Of course, you always want to remain professional but try to use this opportunity to get to know your team a bit better.

For more information on planning the perfect Christmas party that avoids any issues, see the Government’s guidelines here.

About the author

Angela Cameron - CA, CPA

Executive Director

A chartered accountant by qualification, she is a recruitment leader by nature.

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