Trethowans have released an eight-point guide to having the best-ever Christmas office party.
Head of Employment and Immigration Simon Rhodes says that businesses have to be careful not to take the fun out of what is, after all, supposed to be a time for celebration and often a reward for a long hard year at work.
“At this time of year, there are always lawyers giving warnings about the office Christmas party. As a law firm, which looks after the interests of employers and employees, we are regularly asked to advise on the fall-out of when things go wrong. We also understand there’s an extra mood of nervousness with sexual harassment at work scandals continuing to dominate headlines."
“However, instead of being negative, we wanted to concentrate on the positives. It’s far too easy to pour icy water on what should be a good night out, by producing a rigid list of ‘Dos and Don’ts. All it takes is an understanding of the law and some careful planning to ensure everyone has a great time in a safe environment. That’s why we’ve put out our simple guide to having a great office party.”
The Trethowans Good Office Party Guide
- Make sure everyone has a great meal by going somewhere with a good reputation for its food. By getting menu options out early, you can cater for vegetarians and people with special dietary requirements. A good meal may also help to soak up any excess alcohol.
Set a relaxed dress code. If it’s fancy dress, make the rules clear and offer prizes for the best outfits. Have someone on the door checking as people arrive, so that no offensive costumes get in and spoil anyone’s night.
Offer a tokens-only free bar, with every employee being given a sensible number of tokens each. Offer Mocktails and a wide range of non-alcoholic drinks, so that drivers can have a good time too. Operate the rule that once the tokens are gone, they’re gone.
Give them great music, through a live band or DJ. Maybe have some extra entertainment too, for example a table magician during the meal.
Hire a photo booth. Make it voluntary and supervised to avoid any jostling for position or any stripping off. Encourage staff to visit it early to avoid the inevitable queue. That will also reduce the chances of too many regrettable photos.
Avoid long speeches and make sure everyone has a part to play. Organising a quiz with prizes can get everyone involved. Karaoke is great fun too and people can practice songs in advance (which may make them easier to listen to).
Ask some managers not to drink and act as party hosts. They will make sure everyone is having a good time and no one is ruining the party for anyone else.
- Offer transport to and from the venue if you can. Make arrangements with local taxi firms and ask for designated drivers. Getting everyone home safely is even more important than having a good night out.
Simon concludes: “Finally if you’re going to a work Christmas party, have a great time and try not to over-share information. It’s particularly good to avoid telling anyone that you hate them, or that you love them (unless it’s your partner who’s come to take you home).”