The Return Of Christmas Parties

Blog Posted: Wednesday 8th December 2021 by

While Christmas parties certainly deliver some excitement to business life, most Human Resource Management teams were probably quietly quite relieved when they were cancelled in 2020 – don’t worry, your secret is safe with us.

Despite the latest update regarding the return of facemasks, most workers have returned to the office in recent months and will continue to stay there. As such, you will be expected to throw a festive party over the coming weeks. However, this year more than most, Human Resources teams may face a variety of issues.

Here’s how you can identify and combat them in style.

Christmas Parties: The Challenges Facing Human Resources Professionals

The staff Christmas party 2021 may be the most difficult you’ve ever had to navigate. There are several issues that you may not have faced in the past while the problems experienced in other years may be even greater than usual. Lucky you…

Still, if you pay close attention to the following items, you should be just fine.

COVID Safety

First and foremost, you have a human responsibility to keep all employees safe. You’ve already introduced ideas like hybrid working in the daily running of your business. As for the staff party, there are several steps that can be used to reduce the risks. Avoiding buffet food services or other issues that may see people share items will aid the cause. Of course, hygiene should be promoted. Alternatively, it may be better to trade the party for a work event that takes place outside.

Drugs And Excessive Drinking

People are going to drink at the staff Christmas party, and there are no employment laws to stop this. However, their employment contract will clearly state that drugs are prohibited. Over 270,000 people were treated for drug abuse in 2019/20. Meanwhile, several studies state that alcohol consumption has increased since the pandemic. Let workers know that drug tests may be required in the days following the party and try to implement some entertainment and activities to help employees take a break from alcohol.

Fighting And Sexual Harassment

Given that most workers haven’t socialised as frequently, it’s perhaps even more likely that they’ll act out of character. Fighting is an issue you want to avoid as the lasting damage could have a huge impact on the workplace productivity. Research has also found that over half of women (and a significant number of men) have been victims of sexual advances at work. Not all would come under sexual harassment, it is still a serious issue. Christmas parties are one of the most likely settings. Education is key – oh, and CCTV doesn’t hurt.

Hangovers And Absences

It might not be as serious as the other issues but hangovers and staff absences can cost the company money. Again, you cannot really enforce a booze-free staff Christmas celebration. If your business only opens on weekdays, you can host the party on a Friday night. Another option is to hold it in the afternoon with a relatively early finish. This will give more time for people to sober up. The addition of a more flexible approach to work, at least during this time of the year, can be useful too. If absences do occur, don’t be afraid to review them later on.

Finally, Don’t Be Afraid For Drastic Measures

While the above issues may leave the Human Resources team dreading the Christmas party, the truth is that the positives easily outweigh the negatives. As long as you prepare in style, a great time can be had by all.

However, if COVID changes mean you have to postpone the event, that’s OK too. A little party in February or March might not be so bad anyway.

For support and advice with any HR issues, get in touch with the talented team at:​ ​

​01952 288 361​

Human Results Ltd, e-Innovation Centre, Shifnal Road, Priorslee, Telford, Shropshire, TF2 9FT​

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