It’s almost Christmas party season. From now until Christmas (and maybe even beyond) workplaces up and down the land will be treating their employees to slap-up meals and alcoholic refreshments to thank them for their hard work over the course of the year. The Christmas party is a great team building session, turning work mates into real mates and giving colleagues the opportunity to get to know each other in more informal surroundings. Though that isn’t to say there aren’t pitfalls that need to be avoided. Our five tips should help you plan your party.

1. Don’t have a free bar

Free bars are a recipe for disaster. All incidents that may land employers in trouble tend to be as a result of too much alcohol. Remember, as it’s the company’s party, the employer is still liable for any ‘mishaps’, including physical injuries, so plying your people with their bodyweight in drink is just a bad idea.

2. Remind your employees of the rules

It may be humbug, but the normal rules that apply anywhere you are representing the company apply at the Christmas party. Set out clearly what is expected in advance so employees are aware how to behave and what action will follow if they don’t.

3. Don’t have your party on your own premises

On-premise parties are often the scene of awfully clichéd Christmas party antics so if you want to avoid bottom-photocopying or spending the next two months trying to remove the scent of port (or worse) from your carpets then hold the party elsewhere.

4. Think about how your employees will get home

Your employees are your responsibility at your party. Even if the vast majority of your employees will have successfully managed to make their way home from a night out in the past you still need to give consideration to how they will do this. If possible, consider taxi pooling or whatever it takes to ensure that nobody gets stranded. And of course, have your event somewhere central.

5. Have it at the weekend

Having your office party in the middle of the week is a great way of lowering productivity levels the following day. Those who haven’t called in sick or booked annual leave for the day after the night before will barely be functioning, leaving the work to an unfortunate band of teetotallers. Having your party at the weekend ensures that your colleagues can nurse their hangovers in their own time and not on yours.

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