It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With Christmas jumpers, secret Santa gifts and mince pies, even the workplace becomes a place of celebration. This time of year is fantastic for employee recognition and team bonding; one of the most notable occasions being, of course, the works Christmas party. However, whilst this is a time to be merry and have fun, Christmas or End of Year parties can often bring challenges, post-party, for those of us in HR.

This in mind, we don’t want to scare you off! Adopting a ‘bah-humbug’ approach to the festive period can really put a downer on employee morale. Therefore, in this blog, Triple Three Solutions will be discussing some of the most common HR issues and how to avoid them.

4 Common HR Issues at the Christmas/End of Year Party:

Discrimination:

Whilst it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities, it is important not to forget that Christmas is a religious occasion. This in mind, it is important to be aware that not everyone may want to celebrate. Offer alternatives to avoid discrimination, e.g. Instead of a ‘Christmas jumper day’, invite a casual dress code where Christmas jumpers are entirely optional. You may also need to consider certain food and drinks options (for religious or health reasons) and the accessibility of your party venue for employees with disabilities.

Alcohol:

Whether it’s prosecco or glühwein, the party can invite a little too much alcohol consumption. With an end of year celebration and the chance to let your hair down, it is easy for some to take drinking that little bit too far. This can lead to embarrassing or inappropriate behaviour; including arguments and upset that can cause problems that carry on into the workplace. Whilst, of course, everyone has the right to enjoy themselves, there are measures you can take to try and make sure no-ones night is ruined by too much alcohol.

Some party’s offer a free bar, which, some may argue encourages employees to over-drink. Consider putting a limit on how many free drinks are on offer, or ask bar staff keep an eye on how intoxicated partygoers are. It is also a good idea to try and make sure one or two people will be sober, (as long as they are happy to be), to keep an eye on everyone else’s welfare.

Safety:

In line with the above, alcohol can increase the chance of employees being in potentially dangerous situations. This can be anything from making the journey home, over-drinking, or even sexual harassment. Last year, Triple Three Solutions spoke about ‘Dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace this Christmas‘, where we address the potential problems and how to avoid/address them.

One way in which you can look out for your employee’s safety this Christmas is with the issue of travel. Many office parties will end late at night, leaving partygoers drunk and far away from home. If possible, we suggest providing travel or accommodation to help ensure the safety of your staff. However, if this is simply not doable, be sure to advise on the nearest transport links or hotels so that everyone can stay safe.

Social Media:

In the midst of the festive fun, it can be easy for employees to forget that this is still a work event. With a mobile phone in one hand and a drink in the other, social media can take the party from fun to trouble in minutes. With the increased chance of embarrassing photos and inappropriate comments, be sure to remind employees of your workplace’s social media code of conduct prior to the party.

Final Thoughts:

All in all, the key for a smooth running an office party is communication. Be sure that employees fully understand that this is a work occasion; if it wouldn’t be okay in the workplace, it isn’t okay at the party. Be clear that whilst you want everyone to enjoy themselves, the usual standards of behaviour must apply and that any misconduct will be treated accordingly.

For any help with setting these standards in place, or dealing with any other HR Issues this Christmas, please feel free to get in touch. For more information on how we can help, contact us now on 0333 050 3330 or via email at lisa@triplethreesolutions.co.uk.