Re-thinking the Christmas Party?


Christmas office party season is upon us!  The office party has traditionally been seen by many employers and employees as an opportunity to consume great amounts of alcohol, whilst eating turkey and dancing to Wizzard’s “I wish it could be Christmas every day” – or worse – singing Wizzard’s Christmas hit on the karaoke!  However, increasingly employers are looking at holding more inclusive events, providing fun ways to  celebrate the season with their staff, with benefits in terms of employee engagement and motivation, by showing their understanding of employee differences.

Some employees may prefer not to drink alcohol for cultural or health reasons, or may have to get up early the next day for their children or because they like to go for a run.  The key is that we are all different, and therefore it’s key to make sure that celebrations and office outings cater for everyone.

Trying something new

There are all manner of events, which employers may like to organise.  This may include: holding a crafternoon – such as designing a Christmas wreath or cards; playing football, pool or a pinball machine; inviting families to a fun day so parents can show their children where they go and what they do.

The best people to inform the choice of events are the employees themselves, so asking for their thoughts and opinions could be a great way to encourage employee participation and create something truly unique for the organisation.

Ensuring inclusivity

When designing any workplace celebrations, it is important to include all team members.  Ensure that you include team members who are on maternity or paternity leave, as well as those team members who work remotely.  If these team members will find it difficult to physically attend an event, perhaps consider online events too.  Since the lockdown there has been a massive increase in businesses which offer ‘at home’ kits for anything from escape rooms to cocktail making, delivered directly to the employee’s door. A group video call could then be arranged to do the activities as a group.

Behaviour expectations

No matter the event that the employer organises, there should be consideration of how employees are expected to behave.  Work organised events, and any after parties or gatherings following on, are likely to be ‘in the course of employment’ ie the employer could be liable for unwanted behaviour at these events. As such, prior to any work events employers should set out their behavioural expectations, encourage employees to behave responsibly, and drink responsibly (where available). The usual disciplinary rules can still be applied to behaviour at these events and reminding employees of this would be a wise move.

Our friends at HR consultancy, P3 People Management have recently written a blog on Christmas Party Conduct – click here to access the blog.

Castletons Accountants

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