As the chilly winds of November sweep in, you might think it’s a tad early to be planning your company’s Christmas party. But in reality, this is the perfect time to get ahead and start arranging your festive celebration. With winter settling in and the country weathering the occasional storm, maintaining high morale in the workplace is crucial. Organising a Christmas party not only provides a well-deserved break but also something to look forward to during the colder months.
There are plenty of advantages to beginning your preparations now, such as having your choice of venues and suppliers and avoiding the stress of a last-minute scramble. Before you jump into party planning mode, here are some expert tips from our HR team to ensure your Christmas party goes off without a hitch.
Ensure inclusivity and considerate attendance
As you plan your Christmas party, remember that the holiday season is all about bringing people together. In the spirit of inclusivity, make sure no one feels excluded. When selecting your venue or package, take into account dietary requirements, non-alcoholic drink options, and ensure there is easy access for individuals with disabilities. It’s also a thoughtful gesture to invite team members on maternity leave to join the festivities, as they are an integral part of your team. Emphasise that attendance is entirely optional to accommodate various preferences and personal circumstances. This approach ensures that everyone feels welcome, and no one is under pressure to attend.
Encourage employee involvement
Encouraging your employees to actively participate in the party planning process not only creates a sense of ownership but also boosts their engagement and excitement about the event. Let them have a say in choosing the theme, games, and decorations to ensure the celebration aligns with their preferences. Additionally, invite employees to share their unique talents and hobbies during the party, whether it’s musical performances, artwork, or other skills. These personal contributions add a distinct and personal touch to the celebration, making it a memorable and inclusive experience for everyone.
Consider team-building activities
While planning your Christmas party, consider adding team-building activities or icebreakers to the agenda. These interactive and engaging exercises provide a fantastic opportunity for your team members to strengthen their bonds and get to know their colleagues better. Whether it’s collaborative games, trivia quizzes, or team challenges, these activities foster a sense of camaraderie and unity among your employees, enhancing their working relationships and creating lasting memories. Make sure to strike a balance between fun and productive activities to ensure everyone enjoys the experience.
Think about the next day
Christmas parties are known for letting loose, but depending on your business’s nature, you may need your team to be fully functional the next working day. Consider holding the party on a Friday or Saturday if your office is closed over the weekend. Alternatively, make it clear that you expect employees to be in good shape the next day and manage holiday requests accordingly.
Promote safe travel
During the festive season, drink-driving incidents increase. Additionally, long winter nights make walking home, especially for women, less safe. Show your concern for your team’s safety by providing transportation options, discouraging drink-driving, and sharing local taxi numbers or ensuring they have ride-sharing apps like Uber on their phones.
Recognise it as an employee benefit
While a Christmas party is not an official employee benefit, it’s a highly anticipated event for your staff and an opportunity to show your appreciation. The good news is that HMRC provides a tax-free budget for staff parties. You can allocate up to £150 per employee each year without incurring tax or National Insurance costs. This budget isn’t limited to Christmas parties; it can be used for other annual events. If you’re unsure, it’s wise to consult with your accountant.
Communicate your expectations
As we mentioned earlier, work Christmas parties are known for their exuberance and perhaps a bit too much alcohol. It’s important to remind your staff that these gatherings are still extensions of the workplace. Communicate in writing that actions such as fighting, sexual harassment, or any other inappropriate behaviour may be treated as gross misconduct under your disciplinary policy. This not only helps reduce the likelihood of incidents but also serves as a defence if you’re held vicariously liable for your employees’ actions.
Follow up after the party
After the Christmas party, follow up with a brief survey to gather feedback from your employees. This input can help you improve future events and ensure that everyone’s preferences are taken into account.
In need of assistance?
While we’re not professional party planners, we’re here to provide guidance on managing your team in the lead-up to and after your Christmas party. If you need any advice or assistance, don’t hesitate to contact our HR experts on firstname.lastname@example.org.
With these tips and your early planning, your Christmas party is sure to be a resounding success, bringing joy and camaraderie to your workplace during the holiday season.