It’s called the ‘silly season’ for a reason!

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Key things for your business to keep in mind.

The weather warms, deadlines start to close out (or ramp up!) but one thing is clear – the Holiday Season is close and your people are in a festive mood! 

Company Holiday get-togethers are a fantastic time to let your hair down with your colleagues and celebrate the achievements of the year that has been.  As an employer, it’s important to know how to maximise the fun for your team during these events, whilst minimising risk and unsafe behaviours that can cause undue harm and damage to your teams and business. 

To make sure that your teams have a safe, eventful work Christmas party that everyone will be reminiscing come Monday morning (and for all the right reasons) consider the following suggestions to avoid any festive faux-pas: 

Communication prior to the event

Circulate the company expectations surrounding conduct during and after the company holiday celebration.  Remind your teams of the Company’s Employee Code of Conduct policy, Social Media policy, Sexual Harassment policy, Grievance Handling Policy, event start and finish times, travel options to and from the event as well as the food and beverage options. (It’s also prudent to take into account particular dietary requirements). 

Remember, your team are there representing the Company, whilst having fun is the priority, being stupid is not.

Travel to and from venue 

Ensuring your employees have safe travel to and from the event is key to minimising travel related accidents or injury.  Make sure you provide clear information on the venue location and options for how the team can get there and get home.  Better yet, if you can, provide transport to and from the venue to a safe pick-up location – especially if the venue is not easily accessible via public transport or ride-share options. 

Safe consumption of alcohol 

You can assist party-goers to make wise decisions by providing plenty of non-alcohol, low and mid strength drink options, food, and by not promoting the over-consumption of alcohol or high alcohol spirits.  Venue bar staff should be made aware of any underage employees attending a work event (such as apprentices or students) where alcohol will be served. Importantly, think about placing volume limits for the functions.  

With the ability to loosen lips and lower inhibitions, it goes without saying that if you choose to partake in drinking alcoholic beverages, remember that the work holiday party is not the place to discuss personal employee information, salaries, or anything else that may be seen as damaging or gossip.  Whilst it is an informal gathering and should be celebrated in a spirit of fun, the work holiday party is still a work function and placing necessary reasonable boundaries are important.   

In the event of… 

It is wise to remind employees not only of their behaviour and conduct obligations whilst at company holiday events, but what the company complaints process is should they experience anything they wish to report post-event.  It may also be prudent to note who they can reach out to at the event, who may be able to offer them assistance at the event (such as a safe ride home) should they require it. 

Have fun! 

Your colleagues have gone to lengths to make this a fun and festive occasion for all, so show up in the spirit of things and enjoy yourself! 

Enjoy the festive season.

Nick Hedges is the founder of Resolve HR, a Sydney-based HR consultancy specialising in providing workplace advice to managers and business owners. He recently published his first book, “Is Your Team Failing Or Kicking Goals – Take control of your people and their performance”. It is a practical Response to the most pressing HR challenges, which can be found at

Disclaimer: The contents do not constitute legal advice and does not cater for individual circumstances.   The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

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