With the festive season now upon us, the company Christmas party is THE talk of the office. However, the morning after the much-anticipated annual seasonal get-together can be a major headache for bosses. Issues created by excess partying inevitably lead to concerns over absenteeism, arguments, inappropriate behaviour, punch-ups and, in some cases, worse!
Thankfully, help is at hand. Leading Essex-based human resources firm, Practical HR, has these top tips to help employers and staff avoid the hangover from Hell.
If you run a company and don’t have an ‘Events’ policy in place, now is a good time to get one. Alternatively, if your business does have such guidelines, you should remind staff of their existence and what they are prior to the party.
A party policy should set out what the company expects from its employees, in terms of their behaviour at any company-related occasion. It should be clear that any conduct which is considered a problem all year round – such as innuendo, unwanted ‘attention’, sexist or racist comments or language – is wholly unacceptable and may lead to disciplinary action. ‘But it’s the Christmas party!’ is absolutely no excuse. One of the main offences committed at office parties is booze-fuelled brawling and threatening behaviour; and these might require post-event disciplinary action.
Any manager or business owner has a duty of care to their personnel, so it is wise to consider travel arrangements. Remind staff not to drink and drive and encourage them to arrange transport in advance. Provide details of local taxi firms, or hire a minibus if it’s been a good year and you’re feeling generous.
Be clear about what you expect ‘the morning after the night before.’ If you are going to be strict, then be clear up front and forewarn your colleagues that disciplinary action may be taken should they fail to turn up for work the following day, or that a very dim view will be taken for lateness or still being under the influence.
It is also really important in this day, age and society we live in to ensure when arranging a party that you are mindful of people of different religions, cultures and ages. Given that Christmas is still, essentially a Christian celebration, not everyone may wish to participate in the festivities. Invite all employees, but do not pressurise people into attending.
If your party is to be held within the confines of your office or building, managers may want to remind staff that the unorthodox use of office property will be dealt with in the same way as it would had it happened in work time – so no sitting on the photo-copier!
And don’t forget those employees who may be attending a Christmas event held by clients - remind them that they are representing the company and must not behave in a manner that could damage the firm’s reputation or jeopardise existing contracts and agreements.
Follow this simple, pragmatic advice and Practical HR is sure everyone will have a Happy Christmas party. If you’d like more sensible and useful support, visit www.practicalhr.co.uk
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