Reducing Risk At The Work Christmas Party

Reducing Risk At The Work Christmas Party

November 11, 2019 Culture

Tis’ the season to be merry and celebrate the year that was with your team.

If you want to avoid being left with a HR hang-over, it’s a great idea to take a few upfront precautions when planning your work Christmas party this year.  It’s important to note that at work events, the same conduct applies for staff as it does in the workplace, because the location of any work event is considered to be an employer’s workplace – even if you’re in a bar!

Common risks to be aware of when organising work events include sexual harassment, bullying, verbal abuse, drugs and injuries – especially where there is alcohol involved people become more relaxed and confident and their better judgment is compromised.

So, what can your business do to reduce risk?

Set Clear Boundaries

Establishing a clear start and finish time for the event helps reduce risk around business liability if employee’s chose to party on afterwards on their own accord.

In addition to having policies in place, ensure they are actually communicated to staff.  A Social Function or Code of Conduct policy helps inform staff of the behaviour required at work events and that what happens at the work party, doesn’t stay at the work party – it will absolutely come back into the workplace.

Employees who post snaps of the work Christmas party onto social media can also cause difficulties for businesses. The ease and speed with which pictures can find an audience have meant businesses need to consider how to respond to photos that could generate negative publicity. This can also be communicated in the businesses social media policy.

Sending a friendly reminder on what workplace policies you have in place before the event can help remind staff of the conduct they are expected to adhere to.

Serve Alcohol Responsibly

If there is alcohol at the function, ensuring that there is plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks available can help to mitigate risk. Consider capping the amount of free alcohol issued to each employee to a safe level.

It may also be useful to appoint a couple of designated senior staff members to remain sober to deal with any emergencies.

Keep Safety In Mind

People can become more accident prone when tipsy, so take care with festive decorations and ensure there are no obvious trip hazards or fire hazards at the venue itself.

Ensuring employees arrive home safely is an important consideration when arranging your work function. Confirming public transport is available and employees are advised of the location of where the party is (especially if it is a remote location) so they can plan ahead and arrange a safe way home.

Make it Merry

Finally, don’t kill the fun – remind employees it is a celebration and that those who do not adhere to the policies in place will spoil the party for everyone.

Christmas functions can be successful events and a great way to boost employee morale. However, if proper measures are not taken, they can lead to the dismissal of good staff for acts of stupidity.

Our HR On-Demand service supports the performance of your business by providing real-time coaching and support for your Managers when they need it most. To find out more, call us on 1300 55 99 62.

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