Keeping things merry at the office Christmas party

Office Christmas parties are as traditional as mince pies and terrible TV at this time of year. But business owners should keep these top tips in mind to ensure it all goes off without a hitch

‘Tis the season of the office party, a chance for employees to let their hair down, have a drink and get merry. But a party atmosphere, uninhibited staff members and too many complementary white wines can sometimes have a less-than-desired effect.

The NHS says that more than 80,000 people require hospital treatment every year specifically for falls, cuts and burns over the Christmas period, while getting drunk and fighting with your MD is never going to win you any favours.

Before things get out of hand, make sure your festive ‘do is safe and compliant with these top tips…

Yes, it’s still work

As staff are usually expected to attend office parties, they are still considered “work” even if they are outside office hours and not on your premises, according to legal experts Policy Bee. That means you have the same responsibilities to your employees, for example in cases of sexual harassment or assault.

If you provide alcohol on your premises, you are responsible for guests’ consumption. Make sure you provide plenty of soft drinks and food to soak up the alcohol.

Consider health and safety

It might not be the most fun aspect of planning a party, but some forward-thinking can prevent accidents later down the line. Handing out drinks tokens for the bar can help regulate consumption, while arranging taxis or minibuses ensure everyone can get home afterwards. Ensure guests will arrive into a well-lit entrance, grit outside footpaths for ice and ensure none of your decorations pose a fire risk.

Remember your liabilities

Depending on your location, you may need public liability cover if you’ll be holding a festive get together with clients and staff in attendance. Bookable venues such as hotels, bars and halls should have their own hospitality cover in place, but if you’re holding your knees-up on site, check you have the right level of cover in place first

You should also double check your employers’ liability cover to protect your staff’s welfare. Contact EIC Insurance Services either via email or call us on 01442 286910 for more information.