AVOID HOLIDAY HORRORS

Author
David Burkhardt

As the holidays approach, anticipation and apprehension grows around the “Company Holiday Parties.” While these gatherings provide excellent opportunities to relax, network with co-workers, and hone your interpersonal skills, they also come with risks. Whether you’re employer or employee, here are some tips that could help you avoid holiday horrors, avoid regrettable incidents, result in career suicide, or worse.

ALCOHOL

Holiday parties often include alcohol, and this is frequently a source of problems. It loosens tongues and inhibitions, and frequently leads to other troubles. Consider the following suggestions when planning or attending a company gathering.

As an Employer:

Decide if you’re going to serve alcohol; If you do, it’s a good idea to have a hosted bar where professionals can monitor employees alcohol intake. A simple way to control alcohol consumption is to issue drink tickets to attendees to help limit intake.

You can also consider having a non-alcoholic party. Having a more family oriented party theme or a breakfast or lunchtime gathering are good ways to do this. While excluding alcohol at a company event may not be popular with the guests, it greatly reduces any potential liabilities.

If you’re offering drinks you should also provide food. This helps reduce the amount of drinks consumed, and limits their effects.

As an Employee:

Know your limits and pace yourself. Even though it may be after hours and offsite, it’s still a company event and you should conduct yourself as you would at work.
Keep in mind at the end of the party; you’ll still need to get home safely.
Approach this social meeting as an opportunity to build work relationships and get to know co-workers better. It’s not the time to release pent up frustrations or animosities.

DANGEROUS OR ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES

As an Employer:

It’s best to assume that unintended or undesired activities will occur, and be prepared for them. Be alert for signs of intoxication or sexual harassment. As mention before alcohol lowers inhibitions and may cause normally mild mannered, reserve people to do things that could result in legal actions later.

As an Employee:

Keep in mind that your workplace isn’t a dating service. Just because a co-worker is pleasant and smiles at you doesn’t mean they want to have a personal relationship. Don’t say or do anything that you’ll regret later, or that could damage a good working relationship.
Don’t bring your own party to the party. Anticipating that the party is going to “be lame”, doesn’t justify bringing your own supplies to it. People may bring their own quantities of alcohol or illegal drugs to the event in order to “spice it up.” Just as in the workplace it’s your responsibility to report any of these activities you see.

EXPECTATIONS

Holiday parties are a great way to celebrate a successful and productive year, and possibly recognize top achievers, but they can also be stress creators.

As an Employer:

Some of your best workers may not be social animals, so don’t make the party mandatory. Some employees may choose not to attend for a variety of reasons such as religion or other commitments. You never want to give the impression that attendance, or lack thereof, will have any impact on someone’s career.

As an Employee:

Remember, even though the party is a company-sponsored event, it’s not the time to talk shop or ask your boss for a raise. These are topic you should save for the workplace.
Use your time at the party to get to know others better. It’s an opportunity to find co-workers who have similar interests or hobbies.
As you prepare for holidays, you tend to focus your attention on family and friends. Allocating some time toward staff and co-workers can not only improve the atmosphere in the workplace, it can prove enlightening and increase your understanding and appreciation for everyone there. Remember these tips to make sure your holidays are safe and happy.

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