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Employers - 12 tips to avoid festive disaster!

Christmas time, mistletoe and err... too much wine? With Christmas fast approaching companies are gearing themselves up for the festive season. With spirits high, companies can often overlook the darker side of Christmas and leave themselves exposed to a host of festive trouble. With this in mind, the Forum has outlined a 12 tips on managing the run up to Christmas that will guide you through the festive minefield. 
1. Set your Christmas party boundaries
 
Christmas time is the season of office parties, but business owners need to make employees aware that they are still at a work event. Employees often lose sight of this, which can result in Christmas party disasters.
 
2. Monitor alcohol intake over the festive period
 
A lot of us enjoy a drink over the festive season, but alcohol policies still need to be adhered to. If alcohol consumption is impacting on staff members' work or results in inappropriate behaviour outside of the office, the same rules apply.
 
3. Avoid pressuring staff into Christmas festivities

We live in a multi-faith society meaning not all employees will want to partake in festivities. This needs to be respected and employees shouldn't be forced into Christmas festivities.

4. Keep things professional
 
Business owners need to remember to act professionally when socialising with staff and not let anything slip which they wouldn't do in the office, such as personal opinions of other employees.
 
5. Save energy
 
When everyone leaves your premises for the Christmas holidays, make sure all computers, photocopiers, Christmas lights and non-essential equipment is turned off at the plug socket and nothing is just left on standby - it could still be using up to 90% of its standing consumption.
 
6. Keep health and safety in mind
 
If you're decorating the office, use a stepladder - not a chair - and don't cover up emergency exit or other important signs with tinsel. Also remember that your insurance may not cover damage caused by untested electrical equipment, so don't leave those tree lights on overnight!
 
7. Consider the beliefs of all those in your office
 
Where staff are forced to take holiday time at Christmas, be aware that employees of other faiths and beliefs may want to take time out for their own activities.
 
8. Keep things clean
 
Ensure that your party games and present-giving celebrations are done in a tasteful manner. No-one should be pressured to sit on Santa's knee, unless you fancy a harassment claim coming your way.
 
9. Draw up a workplace relationship policy
 
The Christmas party is often where office romances start, but relationships in the workplace can cause problems later on, so it helps to have a policy in place that addresses any problems that could arise from relationships at work.
 
10. Monitor staff attendance
 
Christmas can be a time of high spirits and too much alcohol. With alcohol consumption levels up, hangovers are up too, resulting in heavy heads and days 'off sick'. Employees need to be aware that Christmas time is no different to the rest of the year, meaning 'hangover days', shopping days and any other festive skiving isn't acceptable.
 
11. Be aware of drug taking
 
Under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971, it is an offence for an employer to knowingly permit or even to ignore the use of any controlled drugs taking place on their premises so make sure your staff are aware of this.
 
12. The morning after the night before
 
If your Christmas party takes place when some or all attendees will need to work the next day, make sure people know beforehand what is expected of them and that that disciplinary action could be taken if they fail to turn up for work because of over-indulging.
 
The Forum has recently urged small businesses across the UK to avoid Christmas party pitfalls. What are your tips are for avoiding festive nightmares in the workplace? We will be running our 12 tips for Christmas throughout the festive season over on Twitter #tips4xmas so give us a mention @The_FPB.
 

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