Workplace parties and end of year celebrations - NBIA Industrial Relations Advice

Workplace parties: Christmas and end-of-year celebrations

It’s the time of year that business owners start to organise workplace parties. Generally most staff love an end of year celebration, however there can be some who loath it. Either way, as their employer it is your job to ensure that everyone is catered for and they are safe while attending the celebration. Not to mention that their efforts over the last year recognised appropriately.

These events can be an occasion of joy, but they can also cause significant fractures in workplace relationships and, potentially, upset the entire workplace culture. Which is why we remind you each year about your obligations as a business owner when it comes to making these events as safe and welcoming as possible.

The following list includes factors to consider and ensure that at the very least, no workplace laws are being broken and your staff feel safe, welcomed, and valued:

  1. If you are supplying alcohol, make sure you also provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and food;
  2. All attendees must be reminded that this is a work event, and as such the Code of Conduct still applies;
  3. Alternate methods for staff to get home are made available if they have consumed alcohol;
  4. Any Christmas presents or “Secret Santa Gifts” must be appropriate and, again, not fall foul of the Code of Conduct;
  5. All dietary requirements are catered for, allergens noted and avoided (and not just grudgingly);
  6. If being held outside, plenty of water and sunscreen must be provided;
  7. Be aware of cultural differences and be inclusive of all team members;

And finally,

  1. Choose an activity or location that is fun for everyone!

End of year celebrations and workplace parties are a great way to build and strengthen your team. They provide reward and recognition for the year and remind us all how important our colleagues are and how much we rely on them. Our working lives are enriched by these small moments of mutual celebration, but we can never forget that without mutual respect and consent, these important moments can become a catalyst for distress and dispute which, considering the world at the moment, is something we can do without.

As an NBIA Member you receive free IR/HR phone/email support from our professional consultant. If you find yourself in a situation as a result of a workplace party going wrong, please remember to call the Membership Hotline (1300 557 022) or email the Membership Officer to seek assistance from the NBIA IR/HR consultant.