As business owners and those responsible for the end of year celebrations, which often include an employee Christmas function, it’s important to consider your responsibilities when hosting work-related events.
Even if the function is not held at your work premises, if it is a company sponsored event you need to ensure you have addressed and communicated your own and your employees’ responsibilities.
As a work event, normal workplace policies apply as do behavioural standards and code of conduct. As per normal workplace behaviour any breaches of company policy could result in disciplinary action. Workplace Health & Safety management still applies at offsite work-related events so considering the health and safety of all attendees is important.
To get the best out of the end of year celebrations, consider the following:
- Prior to the event ensure that all employees are reminded that this is a work event and therefore workplace policies, behaviour and code of conduct applies
- Ensure there is a clear start and finish time
- If you are serving alcohol ensure that adequate food is served as well
- Post event transport, how will people get home safely
Prior to the event, ensure that you have in place the appropriate policies that cover bullying and harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination. Also consider your social media policy ensuring that no unwanted photos or messages are posted to social media without consent. Clearly communicate that any activities post the finish time of the function are not the responsibility of the employer. Having a clear finish time for the event supports that your responsibility ends at the close of the function, minimising the employers’ risk should employees wish to continue celebrating.
Consideration to how people will safety get home can include, providing taxi vouchers, arranging a bus or pointing out where people can access taxis or public transport. Having a venue that is close to public transport is worth considering.
Spending time prior to the event, ensuring that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and expectations, will help minimise any fallout from end of year celebrations.