Tis the season to be jolly! Having a work Christmas party is a great way to celebrate and reward staff for their efforts throughout the year. Unfortunately, workplace Christmas parties can also be a source for poor workplace behaviour such as bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, and workplace health and safety incidents. There can be serious consequences for employers if appropriate planning is not undertaken. Employers should take steps to protect their business and, at the same time, make the most of the festive season.
Here are some handy tips for planning your work Christmas party:
Before the Party
- Review policies such as the Code of Conduct, Bullying and Harassment and Social Media to ensure that it specifically covers employee behaviour at workplace social functions.
- Ensure that staff are aware of and have received training around appropriate workplace behaviour and relevant policies. Staff should also be aware of the possible consequences for breaching these policies. Employers may wish to set clear expectations leading up to the event by sending an all-staff email that reminds staff what is acceptable in the context of the upcoming event.
- Consider the location where the event will be hosted. The location should be safe, work-appropriate and easy to access for all workers. If your business decides to use a public space, make sure you have a designated area.
- If you intend on serving alcohol at your party, make sure it will be served in accordance with Responsible Service of Alcohol regulations.
- Appoint a responsible person (preferably a Senior Manager) that will remain sober to keep an eye on things and have the authority to act if they see any inappropriate behaviour.
- Communicate the start and end time of the function. If staff wish to keep celebrating elsewhere that is fine – but Employers should not endorse post-party activities. Employers should set a clear distinction as to when the event is no longer regarded as being a work-related function.
At the Party
- If serving alcohol, make sure you also provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages. It can also be a good idea have activities for staff to participate in that will take the focus away from drinking.
- Monitor social media. Whilst it can be a great way to show your followers how great your business is to work for, having drunken antics posted online and attached to your business can potentially damage your brand.
- If the appointed Manager notices something happening, they shouldn't allow it to develop, step in and try to solve it or stop it.
- Provide employees with information about public transport options available to them after the event ends or facilitate carpooling with designated drivers. You may consider offering transport such as buses to ensure your staff arrive home safely.
If you do encounter any cases of inappropriate behaviour, make sure it is dealt with promptly and in accordance with policies and procedures.
If you need any assistance reviewing your workplace policies and procedures in time for the festive season contact Preston HR on 07 4052 0709.