Christmas parties. The chance to have a laugh and socialise with colleagues or just a mess waiting to happen?
The stats for Christmas parties and pretty poor with half of them involving a fight between colleagues, a third resulting in sexual harassment claims and a fifth of parties involve serious accidents. Over half have had a cheeky snog with a boss or colleague, a third have engaged in drunken sex and three quarters of bosses have claimed that an employee threatened to take a case to tribunal regarding another employees behaviour at a party.
What can we do can do to stop the party descending into chaos? One option, of course, is to cancel your party. That seems extreme to most and slightly 'bah humbug'. Also, most bosses want to give their employees a party to thank them for the work done that year. So, what can we do?
Step one: Issue guidelines on what is and isn't acceptable behaviour. Weather you write a party policy or just send an email giving a heads up on what is expected it is important you staff have guidelines in place.
Step two: Carry out risk assessments on the venue. A Christmas party is a work related venture so you must ensure the venue is safe. Cover you back; make sure you took the relevant steps to make your staff safe so if something does go wrong you are less likely to be at fault.
Step three: Decide if partners are allowed. You may end up doubling your party numbers by inviting partners so think carefully about your budget. More people means more chance for something to go wrong or fights to occur.
Step four: Limit the amount of free alcohol. You want your employees to have a good time but providing a free bar all night will inevitably result in very drunk people so set an amount of drinks per person and don't be persuaded to increase it.
Step five: Consider the food supplied. Make sure you don't offend anyone with your chose of food, consider peoples religions and beliefs. Ensure there are vegetarian options and vegan options if required.
Step six: Don't allow drink driving. You are responsible for your employees' safety if they drink alcohol you have provided. Take reasonable steps to ensure your employees get home safely, make sure local taxi firms numbers are readily available. Even consider hiring a mini bus if the need is there.
Step seven: Set realistic standards for the next morning. How much the employees' are expected to do is up to you. You have to decide prior to the party how much you expect from them the next day and let everyone aware of the standards you expect. Generally, expect a little less from your employees.
If you use these steps as a guideline your party should go without a hitch. Of course there will always be unforeseen circumstances but these will help you stay in as much control as possible.