It’s the season to be jolly, and for many businesses, that means it’s time to throw a staff Christmas party. So, before you get all frocked up and ready to party, take a few minutes to go over this checklist of your responsibilities as a business owner.
While this is a time to relax, unwind, and celebrate the accomplishments of the year, we want you and your team to have a great time doing so. However, you would want to make sure about the side of caution and think about some of the risks, here’s the lineup.
✓ Evaluate any risk in terms of health and safety
- Are there any dangers or risks? – if you are participating in an activity or going to an outdoor location, such as a beach or a park. What are the potential hazards that you can control?
- Are there any younger employees attending? Please take extra precautions, especially if you are under the age of 18. Make a plan for these team members and assign a senior member to keep an eye on them.
- Have you thought about Covid or other health risks?
- Are there any partners or families in attendance? Please take extra precautions because they are all watching you during the party.
- Plan for the worst. Make sure you have access to emergency contact information or someone’s address in the event of an incident. This could be as simple as taking a cab home.
✓ Event administration
- Have you specified the beginning and end times? If you (the owner or any senior member of the team) decide to host an after-party or continue to buy employees drinks after the specified finish time, you will almost certainly extend your obligations under WHS, EEO, and the code of conduct (in short, you are still responsible). Owners, directors, HR teams, and senior managers should set a good example by leaving the venue once the official event has ended.
- Have you planned or ensured that employees can get to and from the event safely? This could be as simple as checking to see if there are any nearby bus, train, or cab ranks.
- Alcohol management is critical. Consider limiting the types of drinks available (for example, light beers and non-alcoholic options, no spirits, no shots). This includes items that people can buy for themselves.
- Make certain that plenty of food is available. This will help to reduce alcohol consumption and its effects.
✓ Employee anticipations
- Please remind your employees of the expected standard of behavior and the potential disciplinary consequences in the lead-up to the event. Send your WHS, EEO, and Code of Conduct to all attendees again and ask them to read them before the event.
- Since it is a work function, all workplace policies apply.
✓ Management and leadership responsibilities
- Someone should be designated to monitor any health or safety risks, as well as alcohol consumption. This could be your Workplace Safety and Health Representative, a Director, or a First Aid Officer/Emergency Warden. You should not rely on venue staff to handle everything, but they can and usually are very helpful.
- Business leaders, business owners, managers, or supervisors should not encourage any behaviors that could endanger someone’s health and safety or conduct. Do not encourage anyone to drink alcohol or engage in any behavior that could be harmful to them if they have stated that they do not want to.
- In order to determine how the event went, solicit feedback from managers and other key people in the business. Are there any minor behaviors that you should investigate? You must always appear to be responding to a complaint or concern.
- Examine your risk assessments and make any necessary changes for the next time.
Ultimately, by performing these Christmas party checklist and understanding your responsibilities, you will be able to enjoy the festivities while minimizing risks.
However, the rules around recording celebrations and gifts as business expenses are complex and can be confusing. If you want to invite us to your Christmas party or simply discuss how we can assist with your bookkeeping, invite us right away. Fullstack Advisory is always happy to help