Alex Lyttle of Tayntons on the potential pitfalls of the office Christmas party
By Alex Lyttle
No matter what business you are in, the Christmas party is always an event that is keenly anticipated.
But there are pitfalls around the party and it's crucial for your business that you are aware of issues that could hit you and your company.
Business Expert Alex Lyttle, associate partner at Gloucester's leading business solicitors Tayntons knows that there are potential problems that can hit any business.
Sometimes, you can lose track on where and, perhaps more importantly, who you should be concentrating your efforts on.
With lots of younger people turning down the chance to go to university and preferring to concentrate on apprentices, there are more young people than ever in the workforce.
It means that there will be many young workers experiencing their first company Christmas party and all that is associated with it.
The Christmas party is probably the one event each year to involve alcohol and all that goes with it and that can lead to problems that exist long after the hangovers have cleared.
"For many, Christmas parties mean one thing - free booze. The open bar is a long-awaited and much-cherished thing for many.
Many of us have had to deal with the fall-out of the free drinks, but how many have thought about what we could and should do before the party starts?
It's crucial to limit the company's liability, to ensure that we can all enjoy the chance to wind down.
It is most important is that your employees should enjoy themselves. They have worked hard for you all year and deserve to let their hair down.
Tayntons has created a four point plan of simple things that every business should adhere to ensure that the festivities go ahead without a hitch.
We don't want to go outside of the Christmas mood and we don't want to saddle your party with lots of legal jargon.
However, there are some common-sense things that we should think about - and common sense can often be the first thing to go out of the window at this time of year.
The four part plan urges businesses to not only think about individual staff, but to also think about how the wider reputation of your company can be hit if things get out of hand.
First of all it's vital to remember your reputation. It is great to have fun with staff but at the end of the day you do not want the restaurant or pub to say they never want to see you again."
Second, it's vital to look after the inexperienced members of staff, those who may be having their first night out with a free bar!
Keep an eye on staff who could have over-indulged. While you certainly don't want to spoil anyone's fun, you don't want their entire Christmas to be one they would rather forget.
Third, consideration must be given to having designated drivers and thinking about transport home.
If you are not providing transport, suggest that 'lifts' of some sort are arranged.
Vitally, if the person driving is also at the party, make sure they know their responsibilities.
Finally, deal with any problems swiftly and in accordance with your disciplinary procedure, and do it as quickly as possible."
All of us at Tayntons hope you all have a great time at your parties and may you all have a cracking Christmas and prosperous New Year.
Based in offices in the heart of the city of Gloucester, Tayntons have been representing businesses and individuals around Gloucestershire for more than 160 years.
For more information visit www.tayntons.co.uk or call 0800 1584147
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