Oh the joys of the Office Christmas Party!
PUBLISHED: 14:02 26 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:26 20 February 2013
As Christmas looms I am often asked to provide tips and advice for surviving the work's Christmas Party.
Oh the joys of the Office Christmas Party! Cathy ODonoghue of HR Champions Ltd takes a look at why Employer responsibilities are much further reaching these days.
As Christmas looms I am often asked to provide tips and advice for surviving the works Christmas Party. Im sure that these days, most employers are aware of potential pitfalls. However, at the risk of covering the same old ground, its worth remembering that there can be grave consequences for employers who fail to take their responsibilities seriously, particularly when your employees are together in an out-of-work environment and alcohol is an element. The Equalities Act and Corporate Manslaughter feature more prevalently these days as areas for concern. So, just to remind you
- Be sympathetic to cultural and religious tolerances at your event. If you offer complimentary wine for example, make sure you offer a complimentary non-alcoholic alternative for those whose religion discourages alcohol.
- Similarly, if youre providing food, consider what is agreeable to different religions and to those who require a vegetarian option.
- Your party will be deemed as an extension of work, even if it is off site and outside normal hours. Make sure your staff understand this and that behaviour that is unacceptable in the workplace, such as sexist or racist remarks, will be treated with equal gravity if they occur at the party.
- A free bar may be viewed as a green light for binge drinking. Remember that your staffs welfare is your responsibility so think about providing food and perhaps a disco to help control the over-zealous. If you employ young people, bear legal drinking ages in mind.
- If alcohol is available issue advice about not drinking and driving in advance and if appropriate consider providing transport.
- A mid-week event may be cheaper but think about staff getting into work the next day, potentially still under the influence of alcohol. If you employ drivers you may need to plan your event so they are not required to drive whilst unfit to do so.
- If youre hanging decorations, consider any Health & Safety implications, particularly fire risks. Christmas lights that are locked away for most of the year are likely to have missed out on PAT testing.
- Finally, have fun. HR isnt all doom and gloom and although we must do the right thing, lets not overlook the positives. The benefits of a high staff morale cannot be overstated, and the Christmas party is a good opportunity to show your staff some appreciation for the work theyve done throughout the year.
HR Champions Ltd
Tel: 01452 331331
43 Brunswick Road