Christmas is just around the corner and the preparations for secret Santa, the Christmas party and other festive events are all underway. With the festive season upon us, some events can prove troublesome if some guidelines are not put in place early. Whether you have settled on a casual end of year event or a  Christmas party extravaganza, here are some tips to get the best behaviour from your people and the best experience for your team.

  • Inform your team in advance of what they can expect leading up to and including the Christmas party.

  • If you have a company code of conduct, this is a great time to refresh everyone’s memories.

  • Include a checklist of behaviour expectations and responsibilities before the event reminding staff that as a work sanctioned event, company rules remain in place. This should also include dress requirements.

  • Make sure your managers know the code of conduct, behaviour expectations and what their responsibilities are.

  • Bullying, harassment and workplace health and safety obligations still apply even if your party takes place outside the workplace.

  • Business owners and managers are ultimately responsible for their own behaviour and the behaviour of others. Not addressing issues or incidences that in the normal course of business would be seen as unacceptable could be construed as condoning such behaviour.

  • Serve alcohol responsibly and do not encourage binge drinking. Make sure alcohol free alternatives are available.

  • Ensure plenty of food is made available throughout the event to prevent alcohol intoxication.

  • Have a safe transport plan for employees leaving the venue and clarify that for those continuing onto another venue – the employer’s responsibility ends at the conclusion of the event, although this has been tested in the courts with mixed outcomes, so beware.

The challenge with controlling Christmas parties is finding the balance between company rules, expectations and the party atmosphere, especially if you are part of a close knit team.

When employees are put in a decorated venue with free-flowing champagne they instinctively feel as though they are outside of work hours and may behave differently to being in the office. Prepare your people in advance to ensure this year’s party is the best one yet.