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How to host your staff Christmas party

We wanted to follow up our series on Christmas party etiquette. We've covered off what you need to do if you're an employee, but many of our clients are business owners and will be taking their teams out. How's the best way to handle this - how can you make sure you enjoy the Christmas period and keep your employees happy.

First things first - where shall we go?

This is a really tricky one. If you've got a large team then it will be hard to find something that will suit everybody. Something with an activity is likely to divide opinion - these may be better for smaller, inter-department celebrations.  Some people might like to go the Karaoke bar - for others it's their worst nightmare! You might think it's a good idea to take everyone out, but consider if it's really best for team bonding? Would it be better for each department to decide what they want to do?  Or, do you want to mix things up a bit and break down some of those silos?

Who is footing the bill?

This is a tough one. Of course, you want to demonstrate your thanks for their hard work across the year. But there is still a limit. Decide on how much you are able to spend and make sure your staff know what's included and what isn't.  Did you want to put on transport? Figure out some ways to get people picked up that won't break the bank? Happy to pay for dinner? That's great, let people know that wine is included with the meal and that they'll have to buy their own drinks at the bar.

Are partners invited?

Again, this is a tough one. Many people like to invite their partner along, but for others, it can be a nightmare if you need to get babysitters, or if there are clashing Christmas parties. When you invite your team to the Christmas party, make it clear so that there isn't any ambiguity. You don't want to be the only one to bring your other half to the party!

Make sure people are aware of boundaries!

In today's age of social media, you need to be careful that your staff don't end up causing any damage to your company's reputation with an ill-judged post on social media. In days gone by, any Christmas party misdemeanours might have gone unnoticed. However, it's easy to do a Facebook Live from a night-club or add in your company's hashtag to the Instagram story of the IT team downing Jager-Bombs. Nobody wants a kill-joy boss but it's worth having a sensible discussion or sending out an email so that people know not to embarrass you or damage your brand on a night out.

Know when to leave

This is key. Once the party is getting started, you might not want to know what's going on! So, have a plan of when you want to bail out and let the team get on with the celebrations. Have a time in mind and book a taxi - that way you won't be tempted to join in with any drinking games.

Have a plan for the next day

Hangovers are horrible, there's no getting away from it.  According to the Daily Mail (so it must be true), 1 in 5 will call in sick the day after the Christmas party! Apparently, IT are the most likely to call in sick (24%) but only 3% of recruiters do!! Consider whether you want to give people a free pass to arrive an hour or so late the day after the Christmas party. Maybe some of the team would be happy to come in at the usual time (the non-drinkers perhaps) but would prefer to go home early instead? Consider some flexibility - it would be better that the team made it in to work by mid-morning than have 20% of your staff calling in sick! And Bacon Sandwiches. They are scientifically proven to reduce any Christmas party excesses by up to 75%.

What are your Christmas party plans? How are you planning to treat your team? Let us know your best tips and places to try!

How to enjoy the festive season without risking your job!

As we're now firmly in December, it's Christmas party time. This can either fill you with excitement or complete dread! Whilst Christmas is a great time to get to know your colleagues better, we think it's important to strike a balance between having fun with the people you spend a lot of time with but making sure that you aren't so uptight you're a bore. So, how can you enjoy the party season and make sure you keep your dignity - and your job.

  1. Drinking

Well, this is pretty obvious. Understand what your limits are and stick to it. If you're a regular drinker and know that you can handle your drinks, then that's fine (and make sure you've organised a way to get home if you aren't able to drive). But if you're drunk on half a spritzer, it might be a safer option to drive and not drink at all, that way you're not putting yourself (or your career) at risk.

Be very careful if there is wine at the table for example. Helpful waiting staff can fill up your drink without you noticing, so it's quite possible that the one glass of wine you think you've had is actually five!  Stick to what you normally drink and have some water as well.

2            Dress code

Make sure you're dressed appropriately. We'd suggest a dressier version of what you usually wear to work (so not too tight, short or revealing).  It's fine to discuss what to wear with your colleagues - and if there is a fancy-dress option, make sure nobody is pulling your leg! And if you are dressing up as the star of David or a Christmas tree, make sure there's no chance of having a wardrobe malfunction!

3            Social Media

Your team might want to put photos on social media - but make sure everybody is comfortable with that, especially if they are going on your company page. It can be tempting (especially if conversation isn't flowing) to get your phone out and scroll through your social media. Don't be that person. It's only one evening so make the effort to make small talk - even if it is difficult.  And finally, make sure you're not tempted to do a Facebook Live on your company page! What you might think your company followers want to see from you at gone-midnight might differ when you watch it back on the way in to work the next day!

4            Office Romance

There are various sources that claim somewhere between 25-39% of workers have got romantic with a co-worker at the work Christmas party.  Whilst it could be a good opportunity to flirt with the hot guy from IT, you need to be careful, especially if other people are in relationships. You don't want to be the cause of a pre-Christmas break up and risk your reputation in your workplace. Again, research would suggest that IT is the most likely sector to engage in some festive frivolities with colleagues and health and education professionals are the least likely. And surprisingly, more senior managers and directors have 'misbehaved' at the Christmas party compared to people in more junior roles.

We would love to hear stories about your Christmas parties! Where have you been? What advise can you give to others about keeping their jobs but still enjoying the Christmas party. Let us know!