For most businesses, the season of goodwill in the workplace culminates in the office Christmas Party. While invaluable for morale and employee bonding, the traditional office Christmas Party often creates a Human Resourcing headache for a number of reasons. As the holiday season approaches, we take a look at the “Do’s” and “Do Not’s” in the lead up to the Christmas Party!

Do – Make sure you have an office policy for work related social events and that your harassment, discrimination and other related policies are up to date. An employer can be held vicariously liable for the action of an employee, even if those actions take place at the Christmas party. It can often be beneficial to email select extracts of these policies by way of reminder prior to the office Christmas party to ensure that there is no confusion about the standard of behaviour expected on the day.

Do Not – Insist that all employees attend. Employees might have any number of reasons for skipping the annual office party. Employees may be away on holiday or have problems with childcare whilst others may simply be busy or choose to spend the time elsewhere. Another consideration is that your office is likely to be multicultural, and not all employees will wish to celebrate Christmas. By making the office party mandatory you risk alienating those that simply have no interest in yule-time celebrations.

Do – Hold the party away from your work premises. There are a multitude of reasons why an office party should be held away from the work premises. You avoid the possibility of personal injury claims for one and the costs of replacing expensive office equipment should things go wrong.  

Do Not – Let employees get stuck into work conversations. The blend of alcohol and festivities will often lead to conversations an employee may wish to forget. Worse still, conversations might even be forgotten, replaced the following morning by a hangover!

Do – Consider how employees will get home. You owe duty of care you owe to your employees. The Christmas party will often be held away from the office. Employees will not know the area, some will probably even have had too much to drink. A simple email with the telephone number of a taxi firm or consideration of public transport in the area could ensure that the party is planned around sensible travel arrangements.

Do Not – Permit employees to carry the party over to social media channels. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ may in theory seem an excellent venue to share selfies on the night, and after the party recollections or stories about the event, but employers should try to ensure that what goes on tour stays on tour. Equally, these channels can prove breeding grounds for harassment or bullying claims which an employer will want to avoid. Make sure employees are aware of your social media policy ahead of the big event (and review and update it in advance if needs be).

Do – Have fun! It is Christmas after all! The office Christmas party is a fantastic opportunity to build work place connections, boost staff morale and thank your hard working employees for their continued support. 

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