The balance between hosting a fun and entertaining holiday party, while also ensuring the safety and comfort of the guests is one many companies grapple with each season.
As the face of corporate culture and employee demographics changes, company management may be inclined to change party policy status quo. Companies may also look to change the direction of holiday parties to diversify employee experience. Experts offer advice on how to approach this year’s holiday party as the season quickly approaches.
The Contemporary Office Holiday Party
Nick Gianoulis, founder of consulting and training company The Fun Dept., said changes in corporate culture should be reflected in upcoming festivities, according to an article in planadvisor. Companies are considering moving away from costly parties held outside work hours as many worry about committing a social faux pau, or having one too many drinks.
Instead of large annual parties, “enlightened companies plan frequent and brief fun events throughout the year for a lasting effect,” he said. Some of the other notes he made include:
Parties held during work hours better accommodate the busy schedule of employees
Attendance of after-hours parties has decreased
Building fun into the corporate model helps create success
Fun in the workplace can help bridge generational gaps.
Fun & Safe
A holiday party out of the office will prevent the party from feeling like an extended work day. Also, allowing attendees to bring a spouse or significant other could also help separate the event from a traditional work environment, according to a BusinessInSavannah piece.
For attendees, the piece recommends sticking to a dress code similar to what is expected at the office. This will help maintain a sense of professionalism. Further, limiting alcohol consumption will cut down on inappropriate behavior and liability issues. “Employers are responsible for seeing guests home safely after a party. Keep alcohol to a minimum or choose not to offer it at all,” the article reads.
Hosting Right Today Will Save Stress Tomorrow
One survey shows that nearly 80% of employees consider a holiday party important to company culture, and experts suggest making a serious effort to attend when invited. But, parties sometimes go awry, according to an article from Huffington Post Business.
By considering some of important risks and liabilities, companies can avoid trouble down the road. Discussing some expectations with respect to alcohol consumption can help mitigate problems before they begin, and using a voucher system to limit free drinks will help keep consumption under control.
Having some company leadership stay sober to keep an eye on attendees and having lots of food and water might also be helpful. The article also suggests hosting the party off-site, as research indicates “hosting a party in the office actually encourages dangerous behavior.”
This also puts some of the liability on the vendor. To avoid religious discrimination lawsuits, either opt for a non-religious theme, or ensure each major religion is represented. This will prevent employees from feeling uncomfortable, as well as avoiding costly litigation.
The piece also recommends asking employees to limit their social media sharing to photos and topics that are in line with the company’s “integrity and brand.” Guests should refrain from posting while intoxicated and should be careful not to divulge sensitive company information. And, lastly, consider a separate insurance policy for the party if the company’s existing policy does not cover all or part of the event.