These days, just getting drunk and humiliating yourself isn’t the only thing you need to worry about at your work Christmas do. Sadly with the rise of the #Metoo movement, being over familiar with your work colleagues could land you in a whole heap of trouble.
Laurie Huspen, the founder of Valuable Resources Co., suggests it can no longer be tossed aside in the name of tradition and fun.
The traditional office party is rooted in the very behaviors that recent movements have exposed. To suddenly validate bad behavior in the name of celebrating a successful year runs completely contrary to what we have learned in recent years about overt harassment on many levels. We’ve heard very clearly over the last year that women in particular felt very uncomfortable in the workplace and what many thought was fun was truly harassment. I think we can all celebrate the holidays in better fashion.
So how can your company enjoy a holiday celebration for employees without the threat of a law suit? Here are some suggestions
To Booze or not
It is in a company’s best interest to have an event without alcohol as it reduces the possibility of many negative circumstances occurring. Should alcohol be available, offsite parties might do well to have a cash bar or use drink tickets with each employee only getting a limited number of tickets. If the party takes place in the office, have it confined to limited hours and if alcohol is served, make sure there is plenty of food to go along with it.
What not to wear
Set a dress code that discourages inappropriate clothing. Companies like to change their parties each year. What may have been a casual cocktail party last year could be a black-tie sit-down dinner this time. Plan a theme that all your employees feel comfortable with.
This is a great opportunity to build in a game or event that everyone can participate in. Whether it’s an end of year quiz, silly awards for staff or a raffle, there are many ways to make the party fun, create good memories and even build camaraderie with just a little creativity.
Planning the office party may not be down to you in terms of the venue and timings but setting the standard for your party planners to follow needs to come from you. And if you’re worried your employees won’t have a good time just as they did in previous years, you’d be surprised just how much these little tweaks can work in your favor.
Laurie Huspen adds:
You might find that the old parties weren’t really all that enjoyable. You may find the majority of employees didn’t really have fun avoiding those who were overserved and obnoxious and dreaded the climate at work the following Monday as people perhaps avoided eye contact after a night of boorish behavior.
For most employers, the whole point of a party isn’t to flash your cash and spend the company’s profits but to say thanks to your staff for their hard work and commitment to your company. Your employees won’t really care that there isn’t a free bar, or being held at an exclusive venue with top-notch entertainment – if they did then they probably shouldn’t be working for you. They’ll just be grateful that you thought of them and bothered to do something for them to show them your appreciation. If you’ve already thrown your office party then keep these suggestions for when you plan the next one, and if you haven’t, then what are you waiting for?