Everybody likes to party. Right? But no-one wants to enter the nightmare of:
a) not remembering what you did the night before, and
b) discovering that what you did was pretty shocking.
It’s a position many of us may be familiar with. It would be a safe bet to say that, following the Christmas party season of 2017, a few hundred thousand more of us will go through the unique type of pain that is other people going into exacting detail about how you made an idiot of yourself but you have no recollection of said incidents whatsoever!
It might not have been Christmas but England cricketing prodigy Ben Stokes certainly knows what these feelings are like. Worse still, he’s been left out of the Ashes team (at time of writing) and the national newspapers are devoting column inch after column inch to him and the alcohol-fuelled events of his now infamous night out.
At any out-of-office social work gathering, alcohol can lower staff inhibitions and encourage conversation between people who may rarely get the chance to talk to each other.
There is, of course, another side. Alcohol and an individuals reaction to it can turn someone who, in the workplace, is considered kind, level-headed, and dependable into a loose-lipped office-cohesion-destroying
For yourself and your senior management, it’s well worth keeping the happy, coherent, and observant side of drunk rather than the drunk side of drunk so you can keep an eye on your colleagues and stop any potential situations developing.
Another thing to consider is that there may be people in your organisation who really want a good relationship with the directors and senior managers. Try to spend as much time as you can with everyone to avoid any suspicions that you have favourites or that you don’t like them. People are our most valuable commodity in business but they are also the most fragile.
When organising the venue, a central location should be chosen with good transport links and hotels. In addition to this every Christmas and New Year period, the police are given specific targets to find as many drunk drivers as they can and prosecute them, every effort should be made so that your employee’s do not fall foul of this.
The festive party season is a great opportunity to run a work alcohol and drink driving campaign to raise awareness. Health and wellbeing are hot topics at the moment and this is a great way to promote this to your employees!
You can budget up to £150 per head for your Christmas party without it being considered as a taxable perk. Please bear in mind that the £150 is an allocation for the entire year per employee so, if you’ve spent money on other events during the year, make sure there is money from that allowance that you can still allocate.
Try to make the party feel as if this is a special celebration of the year that’s just passed. Be sure that your staff feel appreciated and they can see it with all the trouble you’ve gone to for them in arranging and paying for the party.
4. Expected behaviour and conduct
Normal rules of respect apply at the Christmas party just as they do in the workplace.
Actions or utterances that could be deemed as sexist, racist, homophobic, and so on should never be tolerated. It’s never acceptable for one staff member to make romantic or sexual advances on another colleague who does not want to be on the receiving end of it.
Employees should have it clearly communicated to them usually on the invite the standards and behaviours that is expected of them throughout the evening.
There’ll always be people in your company who are more sociable than others. Some people will accept nearly every invitation to a work night out, others will never say yes.
As you’ll be aware, this can lead to the appearance of cliques in your business which, over time, become deeper and stronger and more resistant to outsiders joining the clique.
It’s important that your Christmas party is heavily promoted and advertised as “all welcome” to avoid any chance of creating resentment or upset or creating the appearance that this is just another night out for the clique but this time the company is picking up the bill.
However, it’s also just as important that people feel free to say “no” to the invitation and that there will be no comeback of any kind on them.
This is not a point where we’re trying to be politically correct.
Your Christmas party should be an end-of-year celebration of your past 12 months’ achievements and nothing more. Focus on creating a fun inclusive event that will appeal to as many of your employees as possible.
7. Social media
Although they are now in a minority, there are people who will not be happy with images of themselves being shared without notification or permission on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like.
In addition, particularly for some of the worse photographs, do you really want your employees to be publicly visible to clients when they’re in their worse state?
Before your Christmas party takes place, this is a good time to review your social media policy and make any necessary changes to it beforehand. Whether you make changes to the policy or not, a memo sent around to staff reminding them of their responsibilities will be well-timed for situations like these.
55% of workers have admitted to kissing a colleague with 2% of workers deciding that the Christmas party is the ideal venue to tell a colleague that they love them. (Source: Daily Mail).
As with social media, now is a good time to review your policy on staff relationships, whether they’re permitted, and if they are allowed, whether they need disclosing. And don’t forget to let everyone know prior to the party.
9. Staff absences the next day
If you’re having your party and the staff are expected to be in work on the next day, make sure you remind them of their responsibility to show up before the Christmas party takes place.
You’ve seen the year through together with these people and a celebration of your combined talent and togetherness is probably overdue.
If you want to talk to us about your Christmas party, your current company policies or some advice on an appropriate communication you can send out to your staff to cover these topics, please call the HR2day team on: 01325 288 299 option:2 or email us at [email protected].
PS. Ask us about the template letter you can use to communicate Christmas party policies and expectations.