It may be mid-November but it’s already looking a lot like Christmas out there! And if you’ve been tasked with organising this year’s office party, it’s time to start planning.
A work do is always welcome - it brings people together for an occasion that doesn’t require a PowerPoint presentation or a note pad, and it gives everyone the opportunity to congratulate themselves on work well done.
But if you want to give your colleagues a party to remember, make sure it’s for the right reasons. With lots of experience in the world of HR management, we at Pure know a thing or two about creating safe social events without diluting the merriment. So, we’re playing Fairy Godmother with a light hearted mini-guide just for you to help prevent pitfalls of the annual celebrations!
1. O come all ye faithful workmates!
Ask a few colleagues to help with the event so you’re not left exhausted when everyone else is having fun. Whether it’s asking someone to collect money if staff are contributing or doing the food shopping, a little help goes a long way. After all, you should enjoy the planning process as well as the party! Delegatingand project management aregreat for your CV.
2. Engage and inspire
Christmas is a great opportunity to engage staff by involving them in the general plan. Ask colleagues for ideas; a talent contest? Fancy dress? Buffet or sit-down meal? Disco or live band? Remember to be sensitive about it since some people don’t celebrate Christmas or simply don’t want to make a big deal of it. While others can’t wait to dip their cups into the punch bowl.
3. Decorations without the drama
Indeed go to town with the tinsel and other shiny festoons but watch where you hang or drape them. We all love to personalise our desks with shiny stuff, but computers and other equipment can get rather hot. So save your local fire fighters the trip and keep decorations away from places that are going heat up.
And resist the temptation to stand on swivel chairs to hang decorations in those hard-to-reach nooks or high ceilings! It’s not worth spending Xmas in plaster for the sake of a few paper chains!
4. Assess the risks
Remember an event at the workplace requires a risk assessment. Whether it’s high heels, spilled drinks or loose cabling, list all of the things you think could put a dampener on festivities and prepare accordingly. Get staff trained in first aid and health and safety involved from the beginning.
5. Enjoy a tipple, avoid tragedy
80% of Christmas injuries are a result of alcohol consumption so treat this issue with utmost seriousness. Check the workplace policy on drinking alcoholic beverages in the office, tell the management about your plans and check liability for any injuries on the premises as a result of drinking. You may want to consider limiting the availability of free booze for example.
Before the event remind staff diplomatically to be aware of their behaviour regardless if they plan to drink or not. Workplace regulations apply – claims of sexual harassment, violence and other issues could emerge when the party is over.
6. Keep food fresh
Your colleagues won’t be feeling merry or bright if the office party leaves them with food poisoning. So prepare, handle and store the refreshments safely so everyone can enjoy delightfully indulgent treats.
7. Any other business
Some people may still come a cropper as a result of clichéd party errors despite your guidance. Common sense and respect should prevail, but whether it’s locking away the photocopier or pre-booking taxis to avoid disastrous journeys home, it’s sensible to take caution.
Here’s where we hand over our sparkly panto wand to you! Go and create a fantastic evening planned with everyone’s welfare in mind. With a touch of Christmas magic and the must-have Slade classic, you really can’t go wrong!
Gill is a founding Director of Pure and has worked in recruitment since 1988, including eight years of specialist recruitment experience within an international specialist recruitment company and five years working within financial services recruitment in Sydney, Australia. Gill’s approach is to provide clients and candidates with the highest quality of service. She has a consultative style which has led to her building long-term relationships with both clients and candidates.