Holiday office parties have always been a good source for sketches and comedies. Paramount Pictures made an entire movie based on the event. And, while we can laugh, as we all relate to The Office’s Secret Santa episode, many business leaders know what it’s like to experience the anxiety and uncertainty about how an office party will go.

It’s important for business leaders to adequately prepare for holiday parties. The last thing you want is to create an environment that leads to potential liability risks or damaged relationships in the office. 

The Do’s and Don’ts for Throwing a Better Holiday Office Party

Here are a few important do’s and don’ts to consider as you prepare for this year’s holiday office party:

  1. DO make it as easy as possible for employees to be safe. Safety is of utmost importance during a holiday party, especially if alcohol is involved. One way to promote safety is to consider contracting with Uber or another ride-sharing service to get employees home safely. Spouses and dates also make it more likely that there’s a designated driver for each group. While some companies try to keep costs down by not inviting spouses or dates, employees are more likely to behave if they are there with their better half.
  2. DO be strategic about the time and length of the party. Timing is an often overlooked priority when it comes to planning holiday parties. Many office holiday parties are typically on the weekend or later on in the evening. This can create challenges for employees who may have other holiday events planned. One idea is to hold your party for a couple of hours right after work. This makes it easier for everyone to participate. It also can help limit the potential for unruly behavior, especially if there’s a bar involved.
  3. DON’T think everything will simply “work itself out.” No boss wants to come across like Scrooge during a holiday party. However, you can’t passively sit back and assume everything will simply work itself out in the end. You need to be proactively prepared for any potential issues. Make sure employees are aware that company policies still apply to holiday parties. Encourage your senior leadership team to set a good example, and be on the lookout for any potentially inappropriate behavior.
  4. DON’T pressure employees to attend or participate.While it would be nice if everyone attends the holiday party, don’t make it a requirement. At the same time, avoid creating situations in which people might feel uncomfortable or pressured into participating. You want the holiday party to be one where employees feel recognized and valued for the contribution they make to your company. That won’t happen if someone feels guilted into attending or pressured into participating in an activity that makes them uncomfortable.

May Your Holiday (Party) Be Merry and Bright

Holiday parties are a great way to boost morale and improve company culture. However, it’s not the time to throw out all the rules in order to have a good time. Creating the type of company culture employees brag about with their friends doesn’t happen by throwing an “epic” holiday party. It happens in the way you treat employees and strive to make their lives better day after day. If you’re interested in discussing ways you can make your company one of the best places to work next year, connect with our team today.