Its that time of year again! Your people get together at work or client functions, alcohol flows and occasionally indiscretions take place.
The office Christmas party is a great opportunity for colleagues to get to know each other in a more relaxed, low key setting. Unfortunately, some employees (or employers!) have been known to take the relaxed concept a little too far.
Combine hot weather, alcohol, stressed and/or tired people and you may have a recipe for disaster! The grey area between the social aspect of the office Christmas party, and the fact that it is still a work function can cause confusion amongst staff about how they are allowed to behave.
It is important for employers to set some guidelines around behaviour at the Christmas party or at Client parties and make sure these are clearly communicated to staff.
Dont consider this to be ruining everyones fun, rather, people will feel more comfortable and at ease if they understand the acceptable social norms and what sort of occasion it is. There is nothing more awkward than showing up to a party where everyone is dressed in board shorts, drinking heavily, and getting rowdier by the minute, while you were expecting a quiet, classy cocktail party. As long as people know what is expected of them, they will all be able to have a great time.
Make sure you provide your staff with food, and safe options for getting home, remove anyone who is drunk or acting inappropriately, and lead by example! Keep the occasion fun and light, and aim to finish at an appropriate time. You may find that day-time events, or ones involving partners and children are less likely to lead to excessive drinking.
Nobody wants to be the source of office gossip on Monday morning, and more than one career or professional reputation has been ruined by dodgy deeds at the Christmas party.
If the shame alone doesnt ruin the professional reputation or career of the offender, then the disciplinary action or dismissal probably will!
by Susan Hadfield (who promises to behave at the FB Christmas Lunch next week!)