Holiday Party Best Practices

Tis the season for holiday parties and the spreading of good cheer in the workplace. The holidays are a great time for companies to celebrate their achievements and show appreciation for their employees. One popular way to do this is through an annual holiday party. While these parties are a fantastic way for colleagues to come together, unwind and enjoy each other’s company, they can also be a liability if you aren’t careful. By providing rides home, limiting alcohol and providing activities you can limit bad behavior and cause for concern1.

Have a holly-jolly holiday party that is packed with fun, while decreasing liability risks with these few tips!

Limit the hours

By limiting your holiday party to two or three hours, you limit your employees time to get out of control (especially when there is a bar involved). To prevent employees from pre-partying, hold your event right after work so everyone arrives sober and in a professional state of mind.

Provide rides

Serving alcohol at the office holiday party? It is important to keep in mind how employees will make it home safely. Consider contracting with Uber or another ride-sharing service to get tipsy employees home safe and sound. Set up a company tab to pay for the rides and you’ll greatly reduce the risk of anybody getting behind the wheel when they shouldn’t.

Put it in writing

Remind your employees, in writing, of the company’s policies on harassment and dress code. A little reminder that office holiday parties are still technically work events will help keep employees in check. Make sure to reiterate that holiday parties are not an invitation for hitting on colleagues, spilling secrets or getting too close on the dance floor. A written memo that is emailed a couple days prior to your party will help people stay conscientious to their actions.

Invite the spouses

Many companies invite spouses so employees are more likely to behave with their “better half.” Although this may cost the company more money, it will save you in the long run! Spouses are probably not the ones letting loose, and their clear-headedness will help keep the employees they are married to in check. Spouses and dates also make it more likely to have a designated driver and will help eliminate inappropriate flirtatious behavior.

Limit alcoholic beverages

Don’t get us wrong, we want everyone to have a good time and soak in the holiday cheer, but make sure to monitor alcoholic consumption. Consider using a ticket system where all employees are given a limited number of tickets that be exchanged for drinks at the bar. Have the bartenders keep an eye out for people who are inebriated and using other guest’s drink tickets. Give them permission to stop serving such individuals if need be. Also, many companies don’t allow shots to be served which can eliminate risks of people getting too drunk. Only serving beer and wine is a popular tactic to help slow down the pace at which your guests are consuming alcohol.

Plan an activity

Help keep parties from spinning out of control with an activity for all to enjoy. We are all for mingling and getting to know each other on a social level, but a lack of planned activities results in too much time standing around to drink. Games like a white elephant gift exchange, photobooths, or a paint and sip party are great additions to any office holiday party! Spouses appreciate having something to do so it cuts down on small talk with people they hardly know.

Serve food

You were going to serve food anyway, right? Good. A good office holiday party includes delicious food options, especially if you are trying to keep people from overindulging at the bar. Add savory and sweet items to your party and enough to fill people up. No one wants a veggie platter without something of real substance. Make a statement with some yummy food that will have your employees full of good cheer.

While office holiday parties can be a bit of a gamble from an HR perspective, with these helpful tips we are certain you can host a successful, problem-free event!

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