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    Holiday Festivities in the Workplace

    Published on December 9th, 2022 | by Sophie West

    Christmas is a time of year where companies will often splash out on Yuletide parties/lunches, relax dress code rules, and participate in gift-giving. Yet, with the festive holiday cheer can come potential HR issues that may have some donning their best Scrooge impressions and ‘bah humbugging’ their way into the New Year!

    Some potential issues that may arise from workplace festivities include:

    • Unwanted sexual advances;
    • Relationships forming that then become the source of office gossip;
    • Employees driving under the influence of alcohol after a Christmas party;
    • Disagreements between employees, both verbal and physical;
    • Inappropriate behaviour that impacts on the Company’s reputation;
    • Employees feeling isolated due to the activities or other people’s behaviour

    However, there is no need to ban the Christmas tree, veto the carols, or take the tinsel hostage. As a Company, you can embrace the festive spirit and manage any workplace drama that may occur. The best approach is to be proactive, let your employees know what fun activities you have planned, but also what behaviours are expected of them. Be clear that whilst the atmosphere may be a bit more relaxed there are still certain expectations of them. Be open about what behaviour is unacceptable and how such behaviour will be dealt with.

    HR often has the reputation for sucking the joy out of things and so trying to get the above across whilst still encouraging people to have fun and enjoy the seasonal period can be a very fine line. Try and be as light-hearted as possible whilst still getting the message across. You should also ensure, like every other time of the year, that those breaking the rules are dealt with in a fair and consistent manner.

    Whilst social indulgence is often heightened during Christmas time, it is important to remember that drink driving laws are not relaxed and are often more heavily monitored. If drinks are going to be free-flowing at work events, then you need to consider the implications this may have. For example, how will employees get home safely from the event? An employer should not be seen to encourage or promote drink driving. If your event is going to be held during the working week then have you considered what impact heavy drinking may have on the morning after?

    Things to remember:

    • Ensure that all activities are inclusive and in keeping with the Company’s values;
    • Ensure that people are aware of what is expected of them;
    • Ensure that management are aware of what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and know how to deal with it;
    • Ensure that people are treated fairly and consistently

    Here at Agility we often hold social events for our employees, including a Christmas party. We understand that the Company can benefit greatly from our employees bonding in a slightly more informal setting and how good it can be for people to blow off steam. We also understand the importance that such events are properly managed so things do not go awry.

    If you would like more information or guidance on this topic, please contact one of the team on 01527 571611

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