How to avoid turkeys at your Christmas Party

What a treat. Organising the office Christmas party!

You’ve worked hard all year and so have your staff. A Christmas party seems the perfect opportunity to let your hair down, relax and treat your employees to the fun-filled night they deserve.

But for such a joyous occasion it can strike fear into the heart of any employer.

A word of warning!

The Office Christmas Party should come with a flashing warning sign over its head. As an employer, and therefore the organiser, be aware that it’s still an extension of the work environment.

Read the following advice and tips to help next year start without (too many) embarrassing stories, awkward glances or worse…

Tips for organising a successful party

It’s a less formal setting. Drinks will flow and tongues will loosen.

It’s very likely that conversations will at some point turn to problems, issues and gripes your employees have stored up throughout the year.

But there are a few ways you can limit the chance of these problems spoiling everyone’s festive mood:

• A gentle reminder to employees before the night begins of the need to act responsibly is a good idea.

• Whilst a free bar will prompt initial cheers and pats on the back, think of the potential consequences later. Consider offering a few free drinks instead. This will go down well enough, and you won’t risk adding unlimited fuel to any fires that might spark as the night wears on!

• Make sure your venue is accessible to all and everyone has access to safe transport home (i.e. making sure no-one tries driving after their free drinks). If necessary, arrange for enough taxis in advance of the evening.

Good food will keep people happy (and fairly quiet too) for a while! Make sure you choose somewhere that will cater to different tastes and allow for special dietary needs.

Decide early whether staff’s partners will be allowed along (or to which part of the evening). Tell your staff and ensure the rule is fair for everyone.

• Make sure you don’t forget any invitations, including staff on long term sick or maternity/paternity leave.

If you have entertainment planned, consider different people’s tastes. An act may be seen as rude or offensive to some. This type of act can often provoke similar behaviour from the audience!

• Where possible, arrange the event so staff have a day off the next day. If this is impossible, make it very clear what you expect of them in terms of attendance or if you may allow home-working, etc.

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