According to an Kay Spector, writing in the Cleveland Plain Dealer over the weekend, 21% of companies are planning not to have a holiday party this year, the lowest number in 30 years. I am not one of the employment lawyers who think that holiday parties pose too large of a risk to be held. In fact, I believe that year-end parties are an excellent source of workplace morale, provided that employers and employees use some common sense in planning and attending. Here’s 7 tips for employers and employees to consider as we enter the workplace holiday party season:
- Normal work rules and standards apply to holiday parties. As a subtle reminder, consider holding an anti-harassment refresher in anticipation of the party.
- Review your insurance policies for alcohol-related exclusions.
- When scheduling your party, consider that employees are less likely to indulge on a work night than a Friday or Saturday.
- Remind employees to drink responsibly and plan ahead for safe transportation. Help employees by limiting consumption via drink tickets, offering plenty of non-alcoholic options, and providing designated drivers, cab vouchers, or hotel rooms for those unfit to drive home.
- Have trained and experienced bartenders, and emphasize that they should not over-pour drinks, or serve guests who appear intoxicated or underage.
- Designate one or more managers or supervisors to refrain from drinking and monitor the party for over-consumption.
- Close the bar an hour or more before the party ends.