The office Christmas party is an occasion many Kiwis look forward to all year. It’s the ideal opportunity for employees and employers to get together in a more relaxed environment and toast the year that has been.
For some though, the grey area between social outing and work function can easily become blurred. Especially when sun and alcohol are in the mix.
It is the employer’s job to ensure everyone knows the behavioural guidelines of the event and how attendees are expected to behave.
Unfortunately, without guidance, some can take the relaxed feel of the event too far. Sometimes the result is just Monday morning gossip.
But sometimes the outcome can be much worse and can include disciplinary processes and occasionally even dismissal.
Which means that setting some simple rules in advance and sharing these with all who are attending will help to ensure everybody’s their safety and enjoyment.
Providing food, itineraries, safe transport options and leading by example are the basics of a strong plan of action that will help the event run smoothly.
Many employers choose to give their staff a little leeway during the Christmas party.
But it is vital that they can read the signs when an employee is edging towards crossing Christmas party lines, and that they know when to interfere.
Tactfully removing people from the situation can often be the best way to diffuse an issue.
Morally, the safety of staff is within the hands of the employer. Be aware of when an employee is feeling uncomfortable, unsafe or unwell, and aid them so their situation doesn’t get uncomfortable or dangerous.
The employer doesn’t need to necessarily view their role as that of a baby-sitter.
But they do need to see themselves as ensuring everyone is safe and comfortable when bringing everyone together in a carefully planned out event that represents their brand and company ethos.
Team building and bonding activities, with family invited, can be a great alternative to the classic office party’
So remember that an occasion that can be the year’s highlight for some, can be problematic for both employers and employees.
Management, guidelines and action plans will ensure the office Christmas function runs as smoothly as possible this year and make sure it something every employee looks forward to for years to come.