How to Make Your Christmas Party Fun & Inclusive!

How to make your Christmas Party fun and inclusive for UK businesses

'Tis the season to be jolly, and you know what that means – Christmas parties are just around the corner! 🎅🥳 ⁠

It’s a perfect opportunity to treat your staff to a slap-up meal and, of course, to thank them for all their hard work this year. While you should absolutely reflect on your goals and celebrate your team, be mindful that alcohol + team members can = trouble!

Here's a quick heads-up from your friendly Virtual HR Director about making the most of the festive fun while keeping it HR-happy. 🌟⁠

1️⃣ Spread the Cheer, Not the Fear: Remember, inclusivity is the name of the game! Ensure your party plans consider everyone's preferences and sensitivities. Let's make it an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable and ready to rock around the Christmas tree. 🎶🕺⁠

2️⃣ Santa's Workshop Code: The magic of Christmas doesn't exempt staff members from the rulebook. 😉 Whether it's the dress code or party hours, make you you keep it festive AND professional.⁠ People will be looking to you as the leader to set the tone. 

3️⃣ Mingle & Jingle Responsibly: Santa sees everything, right? Well, so do your colleagues. 🎅✨ If there's mistletoe, there's a risk that some of your team members may get a bit carried away, especially if there's alcohol involved. ⁠So, make sure you have your personal relationships policy in place and you make sure no-one is feeling uncomfortable. 

4️⃣ Secret Santa Shenanigans: Gift-giving is an art, and everyone's Picasso is different. If you want to get gifts for your team, clients or suppliers, keep it light, fun, and appropriate so it won't raise eyebrows or result in any bribery or corruption! 

5️⃣ Snap, Sip, Snack Safely: Documenting the merriment is a must, but let's remember – what happens at the Christmas party doesn't always stay there. Set good ground rules around sharing things on social media. Keep those pics and posts classy, and save the wild dance moves for your living room. 📸💃⁠

Remember, this isn't just a party to let loose; You are the boss and this is a chance to celebrate the awesome team you've got and build stronger loyalty and retention!  🙌✨

So how can you make sure that your Christmas party is festively fun, but also keep the party vibe in check?

Alcohol consumption is the biggest issue when it comes to potential HR nightmares, because if it's unresolved issues, this is the time people tend to air their grievances, so:

🍻 Limit the bar tab! 

While an open bar is cool and all, too much of a good thing can lead to some wild moments. So, let's throw in a cap on the number of free drinks to keep things under control.

🥂 Cheers responsibly, folks!

Some people may forget it's still a workplace and may behave like they do at the weekend, so be ready for that. Keep an eye on how much everyone's sipping and for any warning signs of substance abuse. It's all about making sure everyone is having a good time without going overboard. 

Alcohol and Drugs Policy Template for UK businesses

🥳 Handle the party fools like a boss!

If someone's getting a bit too rowdy, deal with it ASAP. No one wants a buzzkill, so let them know that bad behaviour won't fly but gently diverting the issue. It's all about keeping the party vibes positive! 🎉 

❌ Take appropriate action if it does get out of hand

If it does all go horribly wrong, then deal with it head-on and get started on the disciplinary process. Not sure how to handle this? I’ve got you covered. 💪🏻 Read >> How to Manage a Disciplinary Process.

There’s three other important things to bear in mind:

1. Be considerate of employees who are teetotal

According to a survey by YouGov, 53% of employees said they would like there to be less pressure on them to drink alcohol at work events.

And while other employees might enjoy having a drink, it’s important to be considerate of those who choose not to. Whether that’s because of religious reasons, personal preference or because they’re recovering from alcohol abuse, it’s not necessary to know the reason or to ask questions.

Aim to provide lots of non-alcoholic options. So if you’re providing festive-themed alcoholic beverages, make sure to offer a selection of non-alcoholic versions too.

2. Be aware of religious and political differences

Right now there’s a lot of divide within our society and differences of opinion - whether it’s views on migration, Hamas, Ukraine, Rwanda or whether your celebration event should be called a Christmas Party or End of Year Party, these conversations, whilst important, can become an HR nightmare.

You should bear in mind that not everyone celebrates Christmas in the same way and some people don’t celebrate it at all. You probably have employees of different faiths and cultures. So, you shouldn’t make assumptions.

Whilst it’s fine to go with Christian traditions, just be mindful of others, to avoid anyone feeling excluded or upset. It can also be good to encourage your staff to share their own holiday traditions with the team, so you can celebrate those too.

3. Be aware of neurodivergent employees and those with disabilities

You may have employees who are sensitive to loud sounds and flashes of light, this might be a Health & Safety hazard. And if you have any employees with access needs, it’s important to double check the venue has a functioning lift and is accessible for wheelchair users.

Put care and effort into choosing the right venue - including if it needs to have disabled toilet facilities or quiet rooms (where employees can go to have a breather if they’re feeling overwhelmed).

You should also make sure everyone knows how to safely exit the building in the event of an emergency evacuation. And, check that parking and transport links are within a reasonable distance too to maximise attendance and ensure employees can get home safely.You may have employees that live far and work far away. So, you may want to consider sending out information about travel and accommodation arrangements.

So, party on 🎉

With these smart planning tips, good vibes, and everyone playing it cool – the Christmas party is going to be off the charts. We're talking about creating a vibe that's all about team love, gratitude, and wrapping up the work year on a high note.

Tackle any potential party probs straight up, and you're on your way to a festive shindig that's gonna be remembered for all the right reasons. It's all about spreading those holiday cheer vibes! 🎄✨


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