‘Tis the season to be jolly… and aware


Employer duty of care at work social functions

A “business Berocca” to help prevent morning after business hangovers

As we approach the end of another year and tinsel and decorations are being hung, people are looking forward to the Kris Kringle that accompanies celebratory lunches or dinners and some are even looking forward to the seasonal shut down of businesses. Not many are considering the potential negative consequences of some of the pre-shutdown antics as a result of workplace social functions.

Regardless of your situation, I’d like to share some advice about how you and/or your business can avoid the post-celebration ‘business hangover’.  We know that the cost of prevention is far lower than the cost of a cure.

What impact will the Silly Season celebrations have on you or your business?

Many HR professionals anticipate an increase in complaints and reports in January after the year-end festivities.

There are ways for your business to minimise these festive hangovers, including having clear policies and procedures relating to:

  • work functions;
  • employee Code of Conduct;
  • complaint processes;
  • disciplinary processes;
  • use of work technology; and
  • social media use.

Festive celebrations tend to bring out the “happy snapper” in friends and colleagues.  Alcohol at these events tends to lower inhibitions and help friends and colleagues feel bold and capable of doing things they might not normally do. Some may decide that any slightly embarrassing antic must be recorded via photographic or video evidence on their mobile device. 

We forget or dismiss the fact that it is not appropriate to take and publish images of someone without their consent. We tend to enjoy our colleagues ”embarrassing” moments but there is no need to record these in detail and post them on social media.

Avoiding expensive and disruptive conflict scenarios

How can your business ensure that party festivities do not create expensive conflict scenarios which start your new year off badly?

  • Ensure that you have the appropriate policies and procedures in place;
  • Ensure that all employees are aware of these and how to access them;
  • Provide a short pre-briefing prior to revelry - ensuring everyone understands the expectations of behaviour;
  • Arrange transport for after the festivities;
  • Have a “sober Bob” who can oversee the revelry.

Here’s how Blackforrest can help ensure you and your team enjoy the celebrations and a great start to a new year.

  • Facilitate a short workshop on appropriate workplace behaviours
  • Provide coaching and mentoring for leaders
  • In the event of a conflict, provide early intervention conflict resolution strategies for all parties in order to ensure that the issue does not escalate and is resolved as amicably and peacefully as possible.
  • Provide conflict coaching for individuals

Of course, it goes without saying that it’s not just the Silly Season that this is all relevant to. Whenever your workplace engages in social activities, it’s important to keep this checklist front of mind.

If you do find yourself or your business has “morning after-party hangover“, contact us for a complimentary and confidential initial discussion to minimise conflict in your workplace.

Get in touch for a free confidential discussion about your business needs

  0400 546 524

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