This is not a “do’s and don’ts” holiday party lecturing kind of a blog. This is more like a “yeah, we are all adults, but sometimes some of us forget that” kind of a blog.
“Tonight the decisions you make will have consequences that will haunt you for the rest of your professional lives,“ says Kate McKinnon playing the uptight HR Manager in Office Christmas Party. But then the employees and managers ignore her and the crazy over the top party is fun and funny for everyone, especially for us, the movie audience.
While the movie version includes speeding cars driven by drunk employees down the streets of Chicago, the reality is if a real employee drives home drunk and gets in an accident, your organization can be held responsible. In fact, even if the party is not company-sponsored, but is an employee gathering and a manager is present, more courts are beginning to hold the company responsible. The bottom line, in the real world, is that you don’t want employees hurt. So, sigh, it’s best to have a plan in place.
A Few Suggestions to Consider
Alternate Rides Home — Providing rides home for anyone perceived to have had too much alcohol has been a common solution for many years. With ride-sharing added to the options of designated drivers, more employees are making that decision for themselves, which is great. Do consider how you will handle situations where you need to make that decision for the employee.
Alter the Menu — Salty foods tend to increase people’s desire to drink and sweet foods contribute to the effects of alcohol. Offer plenty of protein and starchy foods that stay in the system longer and absorb alcohol.
Offer Activities — Rather than just dinner and drinks, consider an activity or two. Bowling anyone? Perhaps an interactive game? Sponsoring a special cause or charity may be an activity employees would enjoy.
Daytime Parties — Consider having a party during the day. Here’s an idea: celebrate the diversity of your employees by having everyone bring a favorite potluck dish from their childhood, home country or region. It would give everyone a chance to share stories about the places where they grew up and the meaning of holiday traditions. Or how about a holiday movie outing? I hear Office Christmas Party is a riot!