The Christmas party season is here and after a hard year’s work it’s nice to have the chance to relax a bit and celebrate with your colleagues.
But at the risk of sounding like the ‘Grinch’, whilst Christmas can be the perfect time for social bonding amongst your team, there are also lots of opportunities for poor conduct and unintentional discrimination, so we thought that a quick guide on the perfect Christmas event might come in useful.
Location, location, location
Have you chosen somewhere for your event that really suits everyone? This is always every party planner’s nightmare in any case, but think about your group and whether the location and event might exclude some of your team. For example, a drink at the pub or other venue that primarily serves alcohol might exclude employees who follow a religion where alcohol consumption is prohibited, as sometimes this prohibition can extend to entering premises which sell alcohol. Also, think about the timing of the event. Would an event during the day be better to accommodate those who have childcare or other caring responsibilities? Would a fun team building event or afternoon tea be more inclusive options?
Remember, Christmas is a Christian holiday and you cannot insist that everyone attends the Christmas party if they would rather not.
Mistletoe and Wine…
Christmas parties offer the opportunity for everyone to indulge in their favourite tipple and have fun with their colleagues, but how can you stop your employees overdoing it? Although we know you want to have a good time too, it is important to intervene if an employee’s behaviour becomes aggressive or they focus unwanted attention on another employee. Even though the office party may be out of office hours or off premises, it is still a work event and there is a duty of care on the employer to keep everyone safe and free from aggressive, discriminatory or harassing behaviour.
Don’t be afraid to step in early if you see behaviour that is starting to become inappropriate. Most people just need someone to make it clear that their behaviour is unsuitable when their own judgement is impaired – and it might just save you having to deal with more than a hangover the next day.
Supplying food, limiting the alcohol offered and ensuring available non-alcoholic options all help to avoid drunken behaviour.
Gone are the days of “What happens at the Christmas Party stays at the Christmas Party”. Posting a drunk picture of a colleague at 2am can seem like a great idea at the time but the consequences can be far-reaching. Remind employees that they should think before they upload ‘fun’ pictures to social media without the subject’s permission – or preferably not do it at all. No-one wants to see pictures or videos of dancing directors dressed as Santa on Facebook the next day – particularly your clients…
We really hope that your festivities go well and everyone has a celebration that they remember for the right reasons. If you find you have a ‘morning after the night before’ situation on your hands, want advice on avoiding discrimination and harassment, or just need your social media policy updated, please give us a call for advice on 0203 319 1649.