How to Avoid the Christmas Party Pitfalls

There are a number of things you need to keep in mind when planning the work Christmas party.

It’s everyone’s favourite time of the year…except if you’re in HR.

If you celebrated Melbourne Cup recently you may have these 6 tips in the forefront of your mind:

Tip 1: Select the venue carefully

You’ll want to make sure you’ve got a venue that is easily accessible by public transport and taxis for the drive home.

If you’re having your Christmas party after the workday, why not give people a few hours to go home and get ready.

That way they can leave the car at home and are less likely to be tempted to drive home afterwards.

Select the venue carefully

Additionally, you can brief the venue to only top up drinks once they’re empty, this makes it easier for people to count their drinks.

You’ll also want to make sure the venue is suitable.

You don’t want a sexual harassment claim after the party because you chose an adult venue.

Set a finish time

Tip 2: Set a finish time

An open tab, or drinks package that extends longer than 4 hours can start to get messy quickly.

So, either put the first round on the ‘boss’ or make sure you have a finish time that is pre-communicated with people.

If there’s an end time, most people will head home after that.

And, if any people kick on afterwards, there’s a clear distinction between when the work party ended and other activities commenced.

Sometimes, addressing the difficult conversations early can be beneficial.

Tip 3: Serve food

It’s simple, when you serve alcohol, you should serve food as well.

Having plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks provided as spacers are standard tips for assisting in the implementation of Responsible Service of Alcohol legislation.

Serve food
Remember that a work Christmas party

Tip 4: Remember that a work Christmas party (or any work function) is still the ‘workplace’.

This means employees are still held to the same rules as if they’re at work.

A recent Fair Work Commission ruling found that employers may not be in a position to insist on standards of conduct if unlimited alcohol is served.

However, the rule book doesn’t get thrown out just because there’s alcohol being served.

Tip 5: Have a responsible officer on duty to deal with any issues as they arise (usually a senior manager)

The work Christmas party being a work-related function means the employer can still be held vicariously liable for actions of the employees.

A senior manager can be a voice of reason if things get inappropriate or can be delegated to send people home with a cab charge if they are intoxicated.

Have a responsible officer on duty to deal with any issues as they arise
Set expectations in advance and consider employees ability to perform their job safely the next day

Tip 6: Set expectations in advance and consider employee’s ability to perform their job safely the next day

Not everyone will have to work the next day, but statistics show that over 60% of Australian workers have turned up to work still feeling the effects of the previous night.

Not only do the after-effects of alcohol mean a nasty headache, but they could also mean your employees are still over the limit, or at best, lacking concentration the next morning.

Be especially careful with workers performing manual tasks and using machinery.

Ensuring you have a good Code of Conduct and reminding employees of their obligation to comply is also a good idea.

Remember, the Christmas party is a reward for all the hard work your employees have done during the year.

Following these simple steps will reduce the likelihood of any HR hangover in the New Year.

For more HR checklists, check out the 7 Essential HR Checklists.

How to Avoid the Christmas Party Pitfalls

How to Avoid the Christmas Party Pitfalls

As always, should you need some help, please get in touch.