The work Christmas party has built itself a bit of a reputation over the years for being a wild night of drunken arguments, embarrassing dance numbers and regrettable photocopier incidents.
As your employees and managers all gather together (for some workplaces this is the only time of year that this happens) for food, drinks, music and entertainment, to celebrate the end of another successful year, it’s important to ensure that the night runs smoothly and that everyone, including yourself, has a good time.
However, it’s also important to make sure that everyone understands that such events are classed as an extension of the workplace; therefore, standards of behaviour should remain professional.
This doesn’t mean you need to ban alcohol, write up a policy and be home by 10pm, but you should make sure that everyone attending the party is aware of the rules and the consequences of any misconduct.
The best way to do so is probably a mass email around the office clearly laying out any ground rules or reiterating the current workplace policy to clarify that any inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with in accordance with your disciplinary policy.
But enough about the employee rulebook – what are the do’s and don’ts of the Christmas ‘do for employers:
- Mingle with everyone where possible. Of course, with a larger group or party it is more difficult; however, use this opportunity to talk to those that you may not usually see around the workplace
- Ensure that, if alcohol is being served, there are also soft drinks available for any employee who is under 18, doesn’t drink and those who may have to drive home afterwards
- Make sure that everyone has a method of transportation available. Organise an Uber or taxi for staff who cannot drive or have been drinking to ensure they get home safely
- Stay for as long as you can. Again, only when possible, as you may have kids to get home to or commitments early the next morning, but don’t just pass through for an hour – try to enjoy the night until the very end
- Get involved in activities. Even though you’re the manager, you shouldn’t be excluded from all the fun, so try to get involved in any activities that take place
- Take a moment to say thanks. There is no better time than at the Christmas party to take a moment to address your employees and let them know that you appreciate the work they have put in over the last 12 months. A five-minute ‘thank you’ speech should suffice.
- Drink too much. You’ll need to keep your wits about you and, though you should have fun, you still also need to be in manager mode, so make sure you don’t overdo it with the alcohol
- Bring work with you. This means no secretly checking your work emails under the table, or bringing up work issues in conversation. No one wants to talk or think about work outside of working hours, especially at the Christmas party.
- Leave arrangements to the last minute. Make sure that all employees are aware of the date, time and venue, dress code and expectations long in advance of the actual day. This will enable them to arrange travel, outfits and accommodation if necessary
- Expect everyone to make it. There shouldn’t be any pressure on staff to attend the Christmas party as you have to keep in mind other religions and those who don’t celebrate Christmas, those who may not be able to get childcare or just those who have other plans that evening. You can always bring some festivity into the workplace during the day with a Secret Santa gift exchange, Christmas tunes, decorations and some other festive treats
style=”text-align: center;”>At Guardian Support, we can offer all sorts of advice and support when it comes to the work Christmas party. We even have a standard memo that we offer our clients.
If you would like some support from us then call 0845 2626 260