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Top 10 tips to survive the festive season

Festive fun, or an employee hangover?


As we head into the festive season what better way to celebrate than with a glass of bubbles and some good ole’ Christmas cheer?!

Over the next few weeks many of us will head out into the evening sunshine to revel in anticipation of the Christmas closedown and goodwill festivities. Whilst most Christmas parties see staff having a fun and carefree time, certain events could lead to humungous hangovers for employers that a Panadol simply cannot fix.

Make sure that your business gets the balance right between “giving everyone a good time" versus being a "responsible party-pooper” by considering my Top 10 Tips to surviving the festive season.

Top 10 festive survivial:

Be inclusive: Remember to invite everyone to the party - do not forget those on leave (maternity/long-term sick/bereavement).

Minimise hazards and risks: The Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 is certainly no friend of the staff party – think about the venue; where is it being held/ who is holding it/ what measures can you take to make things safer? Remind staff that they too are obliged to safeguard their own well-being.

Set the boundaries for acceptable behaviour: Remind staff that the party is an extension of the workplace and their behaviour must comply with internal policies (code of conduct/drug & alcohol/discrimination/bullying). Make it clear that breaches are hardly career-enhancing moves and may warrant disciplinary action.

Stipulate a dress code: If you’re having a theme-based party then create a dress code – avoid those ‘Saucy Santa’ outfits that could make others feel uncomfortable.
Provide catering: Ensure that sufficient food is available; this is an essential requirement when having an open-bar.

Assist with travel arrangements: If your party is off-site, offer to provide staff with transportation to and from the venue – do not create a situation where staff could drive home intoxicated.

Remove the mistletoe: Whilst it might appear a harmless decoration, a cheeky kiss from an unwelcome colleague can create an awkward situation or even lead to unwanted claims of sexual harassment – be sure to leave the festive plant at home.

Do not make promises: As easy as it may be to raise staff expectations during the throes of inebriation, be wary of making promises unless you really mean them – promises made in the festive spirit could be deemed enforceable (even if you cannot remember the conversation).
The morning after: Be clear with staff about your expectations for work the next day – whilst you may need to be flexible on the level of “productivity” in the office, staff still need to know that their attendance is expected.

Deal with complaints: If issues arise during or after the event, address them promptly and thoroughly – but do not deal with them at the party itself, wait till you’re back in the office. Just do not ignore.


For further Employment Law advice, get in touch with Bronwen and the Employment Law team.
bronwen@davenportslaw.co.nz | 09 883 4420

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