The office Christmas party is a chance for employees to let their hair down, have a few tipples and relax with their colleagues as they get into the festive spirit.
However, they can be notorious for true colours coming out, with beer goggles taking over and leading to some dangerously drunken mistakes.
Lynn Bradley, an HR expert, has advised companies to lay down the law when it comes to any inappropriate behaviour. She explains that they can be a fantastic time for morale and bonding. It is important for employers to both play on this team-building opportunity but also to exercise caution. Remind staff there is still a requirement to remain professional.
HR companies are encouraging employers to set some ground rules for the party season in order to avoid any blunders. HR outsourcing services such as https://www.mushroombiz.co.uk/homepage/services/hr/ make sure to highlight the importance of keeping staff parties positive and calm (without dampening spirits).
Dangers of Drink
While a few drinks will keep your staff merry, it’s important to remember to keep that at a steady level – employers need to remind staff they should remain responsible, and ensure they limit the amount of free alcohol supplied.
Drink-driving, unfortunately, multiplies around the holiday season – you must remind staff of the seriousness and dangers of this behaviour. If you have bar staff at your Christmas party, give them instructions to refuse anyone who seems much too inebriated.
Tribunals can also look at office parties as an extension of the standard working environment, meaning employers can often be held accountable for their staff’s behaviour – good and bad. Protect your own company by limiting inappropriate behaviour.
Lynn Bradley further comments that sexual harassment and verbal or physical abuse are just as unacceptable at an office party, and these misdemeanours mean disciplinary action – ruining the festive mood. While staff are ultimately responsible for their own behaviour, if the employer does not take reasonable steps to stop any unacceptable behaviour, they can be liable for their staff.
Not all of your staff may want to attend – and they should not be discriminated against. On the other side of the coin, employers must remain professional too – they cannot speak about classified information or discuss things like promotions, salaries, etc.