The Christmas office party

With Christmas just around the corner this can be a tricky time in the working environment. Most people are beginning to get in the festive mood, and this can sometimes impact on the work environment. From inappropriate actions in the office, to arriving late or hung over.

Here are five tips to ensure your Christmas Party is remembered for all the right reasons.

1 – Make sure it’s fun
Christmas parties should be fun and not forced. If people do not want to attend don’t make them.  Give a couple of options and if any member of staff does not want to come, accept that. You cannot insist people enjoy themselves and you do not want your party to cause any resentment.

2 – Avoid Alcohol and Mistletoe
On their own they can be bad but when mixed you are just asking for trouble.  What can start as light-hearted fun can quickly escalate to harassment and a lawsuit.  Your party should be inclusive and relaxed, avoid any activity that encourages certain types of behaviour.

3 – Think Differently
This year why not involve the family, or partners? This can ensure a different slant is taken perhaps it could be a bowling party or a day out to Safari Park, something that will encourage a different atmosphere.

4 – Take in a show
Why not show your staff a good time with a comedy or magic/illusionist show or a musical.  A Christmas celebration does not have to be a party.
5 – Keep it in the day
A lunch time meal can be a lot more civilized, as well as giving everyone a break from work.

Taking your team out for a meal during office hours is always a good way of maintaining a level of control over the party after all, most people tend to behave better in the daytime.

A thought to remember, if you supply alcohol to your staff at a Christmas Party you, as the employer, becomes responsible for their actions when they are under the influence.  You could be held accountable for any damage or trouble caused. Just think about what the ramifications could mean if they got behind the wheel of a car.

You should celebrate Christmas. Your staff have worked hard, but make sure you know what you are signing up for.


Online shopping – good or bad for business?

There’s only a couple of weeks left for Christmas shopping and the January sales just around the corner and with an estimated 74% of UK adults now shopping on line , some of your employees may by using work time and equipment to engage in some retail therapy.

According to a survey commissioned by IT security form GFI Software, personal use of company devices is not only wasting a lot of company time but increases the risk of losing confidential data or introducing viruses on the system.  The employers of 40% of those surveyed had suffered a major IT disruption caused by staff visiting questionable and other non-work related websites with work-issued hardware, resulting in malware infection and similar problems. It also found that 35% of staff leaving a company would not hesitate to take email archives, confidential documents and other intellectual property from their work-owned computer before returning it.

However, Ingrid Waterfield, director in KPMG’s People Powered Performance team, has put an alternative view forward, suggesting that a little give and take could actually boost staff morale forward. She argues that employers who restrict access to shopping sites during working hours may be doing long-term harm to business productivity.

“If organisations are more concerned with the hours put in by staff, than the results they deliver,” she points out, “the likelihood is that employees will find subtle and subversive ways to undertake personal tasks when they should be working.” By all means, make staff aware of the impact that excessive time spent on personal tasks can have, Ms Waterfield continues, but not to the point of being patronising or introducing seasonal bans on internet access.

By providing staff with specific times to shop online during the working day, she suggests, employees are more likely to appreciate the permission they have been given to take advantage of any bargains they can find on-line.

Whatever your view as an employer, you must ensure you have clear policies and guidelines in place to manage the situation, back up with technology to limit access to the more challenging parts of the internet.

Happy holidays…….or not

Holidays can be a contentious issue with employees so getting them right is imperative for a happy and helpful happyholidaysworkforce.

Are you aware of the new ruling on having to take overtime into consideration when calculating holiday pay?

Do you have company shut down or allocate specific days when employees are unable to take holiday? Is this covered in your company handbook?

Do you have employees who never take holiday and have you considered the health and safety issues associated with this?

Have you thought about how you will arrange staffing levels and track holidays to ensure too many staff are not off at the same time?

These are all areas we can support you on – ask us how we can help.

Here is a list of the public holidays as set out for 2015.

Event     2015  
New Year’s Day  1 January
Good Friday  3 April
Easter Monday 6 April
Early May Bank Holiday 4 May
Spring Bank Holiday 25 May
Summer Bank Holiday 31 August
Christmas Day Friday 25 December
Boxing Day Monday 28 December (instead of Saturday 26th)
New Years Day Friday 1 January 2015


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