T’is the season to be jolly, or at least it nearly is and that means the annual Christmas parties are about to commence. Before you dust off the tinsel and the dancing shoes, you need to go through our checklist below so you can be sure you don’t end up with any after party surprises that could cause more pain than your regular hangover.
Just because you aren’t working, it doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for the behaviour of your employees! The Fair Work Commission says you are so let’s look at key actions you can take to keep your team safe and still have fun.
Communication – set the tone
Key to avoiding issues is ensuring all staff know that all workplace policies are still in place during the party. This will set the expectation for behaviour before you even step into the party venue. Key policies to consider include the following:
When does it End?
Be really clear about the start and end time of your event and be really sure that your team know that the party is really over at the nominated time and any activity post that time will be not be endorsed by the employer. We have seen far too many examples of injuries or disgraceful behaviour occurring after the party end time and the business deemed liable because the employer hadn’t been clear about when the work- related celebrations were being cut off and may still have been present and paying for drinks. So, be really clear about the cut off time and if possible, move your people away from the venue so there is a delineation between the company sponsored event and personal choices to keep partying.
Get them home
We understand that not all businesses can afford a Christmas party as well as the cost of taxis to get everyone home safely. So if you are supplying alcohol, choose a location that has easy access to public transport so your team have choices in how they can get home safely.
Choose your Christmas event wisely because injuries can and will happen when you least expect it. Slipping over while dancing, crashing in a go cart, falling off a horse, jumping off a river boat – alcohol doesn’t even have to be present for someone to hurt themselves. You need to be aware that sometimes injuries sustained at these events will be covered by your worker’s compensation policy and there are a couple of tests that will be applied by the courts:
Christmas can be the best time to enjoy a celebration of another big year with your team but it is also a time that can be fraught with issues as emotions are heightened as holidays draw near and alcohol is introduced into the mix. Taking proactive steps to avoid trouble doesn’t make you a Grinch – it means you care about your team’s mental and physical safety and want to ensure they have a fun time at your event. Key points to remember when you are getting ready to engage in the merrymaking:
It is possible to have a problem free Christmas party and we certainly hope yours is fun and incident free. If you do need assistance in setting yourself up for success by having your policies up to date or how and what you communicate out to your team, contact the HR Staff n’ Stuff team. In the event you do require support in managing a major issue that occurred as a result of the Christmas party, please contact us as soon as possible so we can help you have it resolved as a matter of urgency
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!