The Xmas Party
The office Xmas party is a tradition and ritual for many businesses. Such functions occur in two main types. The first is a vendor or supplier who puts on a Xmas celebration to celebrate their brand, products or service with their valued customers. The second is the in-house Christmas party where staff get to let their hair down and celebrate, either at a lunch time or after hours event. It may also be a celebration which marks the shutdown of the office until early January as is the practice for many SME firms in Australia.
The key issue here is that these events are a designated work event and so employers have obligations to employees and likewise employees have obligations to their fellow employees and their employers. Xmas events may be one of the few times that alcohol consumption by attendees is sanctioned by the employer. Alcohol by its nature can create risk for all those involved.
An employer has a general duty of care to their employees which includes being responsible for the safety of employees and visitors in the workplace or events held formally by the employer. The provision of alcohol at a work related event or function means putting in place some measures to mitigate any risk and to make that event as safe as possible for attendees.
There are some key measures that can help make that Xmas event a safe and uneventful experience for all. The following are key ideas that will assist you in preparing for such events and is of general advice only. Check your legal and HR advisors for any particular measures pertinent to your business or event that may also apply.
- Have in place alcohol usage, social media and sexual harassment policies in place in the business as a standard part of your workplace culture.
- Remind staff of theses at any upcoming event involving alcohol usage that all workplace laws and rules still apply.
- Have a range of non-alcoholic drinks, juices, water and alternatives to alcohol at the event in prominent locations.
- Ensure that food is served immediately when alcohol is served as food can slow drinking habits and prevent people drinking on an empty stomach.
- Ensure reduced strength and non-alcoholic wines and beers are available.
- Ensure that heat and light factors do not promote fast consumption of alcohol. Possibly hold event in cooler place at end of the day.
- Have a boundary around the duration of the event such that it does not become a marathon.
- Provide transport options such as taxis for those who appear alcohol affected.
- Identify and organise people who are opting to stay sober who can act as observers and alert managers to signs of out of control behaviours.
- Intervene if alcohol affected behaviours create possible problems for that person or for others.
- Stay sober as the leader and issue instructions to leave for any person who creates a risk. Use taxi option is inebriated.
- Warn staff that mobile phone photo usage is not advisable in such settings.
If you create a safe environment then the Xmas party can be an enjoyable event for all and not lead to subsequent claims of inappropriate or illegal behaviours, or damage to the reputation of individuals or the firm itself.
A Thank You to Everyone for this Year!
I would just like to offer a personal note of thanks to all my corporate clients who have come on board and supported me over this year by engaging with Corporate Energetics. We have both grown as a result and the win-win outcomes enjoyed by us all have been inspiring and productive.
I certainly have learnt a thing or two along the way. I thank my oil and gas clients for teaching me that a Slug Chaser is a pipe diagnostic tool that internally travels down pipes looking and measuring for corrosion!! I thank my banking clients for sharing how the Euro zone instability affects the way they view and gauge risk, my trucking company clients for how a dolly is not just the thing my 3 and a half year old daughter plays with!!, how Cloud computing is not just another vapour-ware concept from my I.T. clients, and learning about HAZOP as a hazard identification competency and process from the commercial construction companies. My quiz-night knowledge of niche facts is certainly on the rise as a result of connecting with such a diverse range of industries.
I look forward to engaging with you all again in 2012. I now take time out to “sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey states as his 7th habit of Highly Successful people. I have some great news in 2012 about expansion and growth that I will start to share with you soon!! Till then have a happy and safe Xmas for yourself and your loved ones!!
If your business could do with some Emotional Intelligence training, business coaching, or executive coaching then contact us and let’s discuss how we can assist you in your conscious business evolution.
Have a safe and happy Xmas!
Director, Conscious Business Australia