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Top tips to help the work Christmas party go to plan

Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer - Employment Hero

It’s that time of year when workplace Christmas parties are in the calendar and everyone’s planning their outfit. The office is buzzing with anticipation and the smell of festivities is in the air, but how can you ensure that your work Christmas party goes to plan? Christmas parties are a great opportunity to celebrate the year that was and show appreciation for your teams’ hard work and commitment.

So if the venue is booked and numbers are finalised, there are a few things to remember to ensure that your team stays safe at the Christmas party. As an employer, you have a duty of care and this extends to the Christmas party, so read on as we share 7 ways you can ensure your work Christmas party goes to plan:

1) On the calendar invite, include what is expected of your teams’ behaviour

When the Christmas party calendar invites land in your teams’ inbox, it’s important to include the expectations of their behaviour. It’s a gentle reminder to let your team know that it is still a work function, and they should be on their best behaviour. With this being said, you never want to stifle a Christmas party celebration by being the HR fun Police, remember to treat your team as trusted adults.

2) Remind your team of your workplace policies including social media, drugs, alcohol, bullying and harassment

Today, any form of misconduct such as bullying, sexual harassment, violence or discrimination in the workplace is not tolerated. In the week leading up to your Christmas party, remind your team that they still apply at the Christmas party. As an employer, it’s important you know your workplace policies, and have a prepared plan of action if something were to occur. We’ve all heard the stories of when things go wrong at the work Christmas party, so having these policies in place can help you stay protected.

3) Organise adequate food for attendees

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get caught and forget about having enough food. Christmas parties are a great time to eat, drink and be merry, but don’t forget the food! By having adequate food available to your team, you’ll also be able to give everyone a break from drinking. By making sure food is covered for the entire night, you might have a few less dramas. When it comes to organising the catering, ask your team to notify you of any dietary requirements. You should also ensure there’s different vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available.

4) Set clear starting and finishing times

This one is simple but necessary. When you notify your team of the Christmas party, it’s important to specify an end time. The finishing time allows employees to organise transport home and avoids any confusion. Just think, wouldn’t you find it frustrating if you organised your Christmas party and everyone left one hour in because they weren’t aware it was booked for four hours? If you add an end time, people will be more likely to stick around and mingle with your team. This leads to improved team morale and engagement – win! For those that might want to stick around, why not organise an after-party? This is a good chance for unofficial team bonding.

5) Let your team know there will be non-alcoholic drinks available

By letting your team know of the different drink options available, those who aren’t drinking will still feel included. You should offer options for those who don’t drink alcohol or are driving such as juice, soft drinks or mocktails. You should also ensure that that there is water readily available around the venue.

6) If the venue is far away from the office, organise transport to get there and back

If your Christmas party venue is located more than a walk away from the office, we suggest booking transport. A bus to and from the location reduces stress for the entire team and means that everyone can enjoy themselves. It also greatly reduces the risk of anyone getting behind the wheel after a night of celebrating.

7) Let your team know you encourage them to have fun, but not have any regrets

Too often, we hear of drama happening at the work Christmas party, so it’s important to remind your team not to do anything they’ll regret. Sore heads and regrets are something that you don’t want your team to be feeling the day after. Even worse, feeling embarrassed walking into work on Monday from something they did in the late hours of the Christmas party! if you feel you may fall into that bucket, ask a friend to keep an eye on you to help you out if you have had too much to drink.

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