The downside of a Christmas party

The downside of a Christmas party

Posted  6th December 2016

With the festive season in full swing, many of you will have Christmas parties and celebrations to look forward to with your staff in the run up to the School holidays. It's a great way to thank them for their efforts, boost morale and for them to let their hair down….but don't let your guard down!

To help ensure you have hassle free work celebrations, take the following steps:

  1. The invite: invite all staff to attend and don't forget those who are absent (e.g. on maternity leave or sick leave) but don't insist they come. As it's a Christian holiday some may not want to attend on religious grounds. Others may have family responsibilities preventing them from attending if it's outside of working hours.

  2. Set boundaries: remind staff of the boundaries of acceptable behaviour beforehand and make it clear that unacceptable behaviour (e.g. harassment, discriminatory questions/remarks, drugs, fighting) may result in disciplinary action. It may sound like a bore but as social events are "work related", as the employer you could be liable for one colleague's behaviour towards another. Taking reasonable action to help protect your staff will be your defence to any claim.

  3. No work talk: remind managers not to talk to their staff about work – this is a social event after all. Informal appraisals, performance concerns and pay or promotion promises could land you in hot water after the event. Avoid them completely.

  4. The next day: If staff have work the next day, remind them that whilst you want them to have fun, they will be expected to attend work the following day and be fit to do their work. Failure to do so could result in disciplinary action.

  5. Secret Santa: If you run a Secret Santa, make it optional and ensure all staff are told that gifts must be inoffensive.

  6. Finally: after taking the above steps, enjoy! You deserve a well-earned celebration (but remember we are here if anything does crop up!)