When it’s time to wrap up a year of hard work and great accomplishments, an office holiday party can be a fun reward. Once excessive drinking is added to the mix, though, those fun parties can lead to mornings after filled with regret, embarrassing memories, and sometimes even dealing with the aftermath of inappropriate behavior.
When employees get out of hand at a company function, even if it’s offsite, the company can be left holding the liability and dealing with the consequences long after the confetti has been cleared. In the light of day, a flirty conversation may suddenly sound a lot more inappropriate and lead to harassment claims. Worse, an employee who enjoyed the open bar a little too much could put everyone at risk if driving afterward.
This isn’t to say that office parties must be stuffy affairs where the most exciting element is a drawing for a bedazzled stapler. The point is to keep the merriment from getting out of hand.
Here are 3 cures for your office holiday party hangover:
1. Make the party optional.
Requiring employees to be there will increase your liability for any mishaps that happen at the event. Make it known that no adverse action will occur from someone’s decision to go or not go to the party.
2. Don’t be loose with the booze.
Communicate that excessive drinking will not be tolerated. One way to control the flow of alcohol (and party costs) is to provide a limited number of drink tickets to each attendee and use professional bartenders instead of employees to serve drinks.
3. Provide alternate routes.
If you see an employee who is clearly intoxicated, provide alternate transportation such as a taxi. Serve food at the party so there’s no drinking on an empty stomach. Be sure to serve nonalcoholic drinks and provide entertainment so that the focus of the holiday party is not solely on alcohol.
For more guidance on appropriately celebrating at your holiday office party, please contact Nextep’s HR department.