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How to avoid your Christmas party going hAyWiRe!


21 November 2023

We’re certainly on our way towards Christmas! If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to start planning the end of year work party. Teams are always keen to get festive and social with their colleagues, it’s a great way to have a lot of fun with the people you have worked hard with all year long…. But what if it all goes hAyWiRe and you are left with an awkward situation to manage?? What to do?? As an employer there are steps you can take to minimise any impact on your business and ensure everyone experiences a safe environment.

Make sure you PLAN!

Make sure you have a clear and concise plan that you communicate to your team prior to the event, This should outline the start and finish times, location, what transport options are available for everyone to get home and the behaviours expected whilst attending the work function. An email communication with this detail followed up by conversations is an effective way to ensure the message is communicated effectively.

Start and Finish Times

You need to clearly specify the start and finish times of the event, this is important as legally this is a workplace function and employers have a duty of care to everyone in attendance. Remember, your workplace is bigger than just your office, from a work, health and safety perspective this can span to workplace events such as the work Christmas party. Employers need to be clear on start and finish time of the work event and that any ‘after parties’ are not supported by the business. You should provide safe options for staff to get home after the event such as cab vouchers, coordinating a bus service and selecting a central venue.

Expected Behaviors

We know that common sense can be left behind after a few alcoholic drinks and that this can cause an array of issues for all concerned. Ensuring expected behaviours are communicated prior to the event and reference to any policies will support employers with managing any misconduct or unwanted behaviors. Communicating to staff ways in which they can mitigate such behavior, report any incidents and how to seek support helps to minimise the risks to employers.

It’s important to consider and identify who will be responsible for the safe service of alcohol, what steps will be taken if something goes wrong at the event and who will manage such behavior. Appointing ‘party police’ that will literally keep a watchful eye on the event and act promptly if any incidents occur will contribute to creating a safe environment. If any incidents do occur, act promptly and follow appropriate process to manage and mitigate any further risks to your organisation.

The Boring Stuff!

Preemptively providing training to your team on bullying, harassment, discrimination and safety is helpful across the year and can be done specifically for the end of year event as well. Providing training on the dos and don’ts at the work end of year party prior to the event is beneficial. This content is best received when embedded into existing training, inductions and shared in a friendly email reminder prior to the event.

Remember that your policies are vital in detailing what the business and the law constitutes as appropriate conduct, social media usage, dress code and alcohol consumption. Having up to date and robust policies and procedures will not only protect employers but employees as well. If your policies and procedures need a refresh, it might be great time to take a look at them and make sure you send them to you team to ensure everyone knows what is expected.

The above steps might seem like a bit of a buzz kill but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a fizzle. The right steps and communication taken prior can allow everyone to relax and socialise in a safe environment.

If you have any questions on how to manage your Christmas party planning, what to communicate, need a policy review or are seeking advice please contact our Impact HR Consultants on 1300 474 672 or .

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