‘Tis the season for Christmas/holiday parties. Now, we’ve all experienced and/or heard of Christmas parties gone wrong – hopefully your gathering won’t be remembered for all of the wrong reasons! While getting your employees together should be a fun time – and is an opportunity to show your appreciation for all of their hard work — it’s imperative to take the steps necessary to hosting a safe party.

The #MeToo movement has highlighted the issue of sexual misconduct in the workplace. Creating a healthy environment for all employees extends to job-related events that occur outside of the regular workplace. As well, we all know that drinking and driving can have devastating impacts. Although it’s up to each and every one of us to be responsible in this regard, as a business owner you need to take all of the appropriate steps to ensure that an incident doesn’t occur as a result of the party that you host.

A few suggestions to make your get-together a successful event:

• Limit the amount of alcohol served/consumed: For example, offer 2 alcohol drink tickets per guest.
• Invite spouses/partners to the party: This should go without saying, but inviting partners should limit potentially inappropriate interactions between colleagues.
• Serve food: After all, it’s better to fill guests up on a meal and/or snacks as opposed to alcohol.
• Offer safe rides home (for example, taxi vouchers): This reduces the risk of someone driving after they’ve had too much to drink.
• For businesses that are open Monday – Friday, host your party on a week night: Employees are more likely to keep things calm when they have to get up for work the next day.
• End the party at a reasonable time: For example, rent a venue from 5:00pm to 10:00pm. The later the party goes, the greater the chance of the event getting out of control.
• Another option for a celebration is going out for lunch with your staff: With this type of event, there is a very low chance of anything going wrong! The added bonus is that more people will be able to attend, as the closer we get to Christmas, the more commitments that people generally have in the evening hours.

Following these steps should create a good, safe time for all and will reduce your liability as a business owner. Here’s hoping that your party is an enjoyable and safe time for everyone – and an experience that all employees remember for all of the right reasons! Merry Christmas!

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