Tips for a great office party

'It is important to have 'in charge' people who are observers’

Tips for a great office party

It is that time of the year again when Christmas parties are the talk of the office.

What to wear, how to behave, and how much to drink are all issues that come to the forefront when an office Christmas party is being discussed.

A lot of companies will be having their first Christmas party in almost three years due to continued lockdowns and employees not returning to the office, so there may be some very excited colleagues in your business.

So some kind of formal approach makes sense.

“Policies outlining business rules, expectations and behaviours are a necessary requirement for any work function, be that a Christmas party or client event,” Roxanne Calder, founder of recruitment agency, EST10, said.

“It protects both the organisation and your employees. A code of conduct should be included, covering any form of harassment, bullying, unacceptable and unprofessional behaviour, and discrimination. 

Such policies are introduced at induction and onboarding as standard protocol, she says.

“They should also be refreshed for new legislation, revised with training throughout the year and easily accessed for all via the intranet. A good time for revised training is in the lead-up to the Christmas party.”

Employment lawyer Amber Chandler outlines legal considerations for this kind of event.

‘In charge’ people

As the day approaches, people in the office will inevitably get more excited, so it is important to outline behavioural standards from the outset.

“It is important to have 'in charge" people who are observers — not consuming alcohol — at the Christmas party,” Calder added. “As in any workplace, Christmas party or at the desk, all complaints need to be taken seriously, if one is made.  

For incidents at the party, the in charge person takes care of any behaviour or out-of-hand situation, she said.

“Depending on the severity, [that means] calming the environment first and separating the individuals if needed. A safe passage home may also be required. Proper investigation and record keeping of the event, including witness accounts and timelines is recommended.

“Depending on the severity and breach of conduct will determine the level of action required. Follow up on all situations with record keeping of the follow-up is a rule of thumb. It is part of the duty of care for employees and safeguards organisations.”

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