It’s that time of year again!

How to stop things getting out of hand at the office Christmas party

It’s that time of year again – the infamous office Christmas party. Your employees have spent 12 months at the coalface and now they’re ready to let off steam. There’s nothing wrong with letting your hair down, it’s just that sometimes things can go a tad wonky. Especially when there’s alcohol involved…

This can be a hard one for employers. Whilst you want to avoid any disasters, you also need to take your foot off the ‘boss’ pedal – it is, after all, a party. However, there’s a balance; you’re still in charge and they’re still your responsibility.

Here are six steps to minimising the tears, tantrums and you’re-going-to-regret-that moments…

Lay down the law

Without being a party pooper, it’s wise to remind staff of unacceptable behaviour and how it will be dealt with. But don’t leave this until the eleventh hour – they won’t take you seriously if they’ve already got a prosecco in their hand. Lay down the law before the big day and make sure they know that unacceptable behaviour will be met with the normal disciplinary procedures, party hat or no party hat.

Consider their individual needs

If you’re a good, law-abiding employer, you’ll know how important it is to consider each employee within the workplace. The same goes for the office Christmas party. Will parents be able to arrange childcare? Will members of some faiths be able to make the date? Does the food cater for all religious, cultural and dietary requirements? Are there plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available? Are the arrangements convenient for disabled members of staff? Take all these things into account and you’ll have yourself a fair, inclusive and all-embracing Christmas shindig.

Assign a t-totaller

If everyone’s boozing, then there’s no one to keep an eye out for unacceptable behaviour. However much they kick against it, you need to designate a manager to stay alcohol-free. And if they won’t do it, you’ll have to.

Cap the free bar

There’s a simple equation when it comes to free bars and office Christmas parties:

Free bar + employees = mayhem

They’ve spent a year together in a professional, sometimes politically charged, environment, where the only narcotic is strong coffee and sugar. Give them free rein of the bar and it’s likely to end in tears. Without looking stingy, limit their drinks and perhaps don’t encourage the tequila shots. This is the best way to avoid accidents, fights and incidents that might be seen as harassment.

Get them home safely

It’s the end of the night and all you want to do is curl up and sleep until midday. But as tempting as it is to scarper, you need to make sure your employees get home safely. So book them taxis and if they want to walk, they can do so in groups. You don’t want anyone zigzagging down the street on their lonesome.
No hangover sickies

For most employers, the ideal day for an office Christmas party is Friday – you don’t have to put up with an army of zombies the next morning. But if you get stuck with a mid-week blowout, you should remind staff that you expect them to turn up for work, however hungover they feel. Anyone who calls in sick will understandably be met with a considerable amount of suspicion!

Take it from us – the office Christmas party is a breeding ground for embarrassing moments and reputation-wrecking behaviour. Which is a shame when you spend the rest of the year making your company – and staff – look good. But if you’re savvy to the hazards, you can keep things under control. Now, where did we put that guest list…

If your worried your office Christmas party will end in tears, give us a call – we’re good at organised fun!

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