Five ways to prevent an end-of-year celebration incident

2021 will be a year to remember and, no doubt, celebrate the back end of. Organisations returning from post-COVID hiatus will be ready to kick their heels up and wave goodbye to a period like no other. Pandemic related stress, home schooling pressures, isolation and career uncertainty has the potential to create a “pressure cooker” situation. Being prepared and properly planning end-of-year festivities this year will be even more of a challenge.

Managing the risks of a Christmas “incident” comes down to a combination of useful strategies and careful planning. Here’s five things to keep an event incident free and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all attending staff:

1.       Provide clear expectations to staff

Ensure all employees, and those accompanying them, know what is expected in terms of behaviour. The event is an extension of the workplace, so the same rules apply. Provide refresher training (i.e Code of Conduct), distribute instructions (like toolbox training) and written information via print and email.

2.       Holler for an (event) marshal!

Consider appointing a respected senior person (or team of people) to monitor the event and be on the lookout for issues. Have a plan to deal with any incidents quickly and safely. P.S.  best this person or group not be intoxicated!

 3.       Arrange safe travel to and from the venue

One of the ways a company can ensure that their employees stay safe is to facilitate their movements to and from a venue. Whilst this may not be an option for small organisations, it’s worth considering providing a bus or even having someone arrange taxi’s/Uber at the completion of the event.

4.       Have strict guidelines relating to the event

Let staff know when the event will start and finish (and stick to these), abide by all relevant guidelines (like the management of COVID risks), have a safety plan, ensure responsible service of alcohol (including licenses) and ensure employees know that when the party’s over… it’s over! Ensure they know that any afterwards arrangements are not an extension of the organised event.

5.       Consider the venue

Do you really need to have the Christmas party at your local booze-up on Friday after work? Could you consider a family BBQ at the nearby beach park on a Sunday afternoon? Assess the risks, the relationships between staff and the changing dynamic of the working environment. Planning may save a lot of heartache later.

Finally, remember to make any end-of-year celebration just that – a celebration of getting through a tough work and personal year. Try not to be so onerous that none of your staff will want to come! It’s all about planning and communication.

And, if something does happen, realise that you could be liable because of the general obligation to provide a safe workplace. This can include out-of-hours functions facilitated by the employer.

If something does happen, be sure to deal with it quickly, transparently and following all the important rules of procedural justice. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to get in touch for a no obligation chat.

Related Posts