December 21, 2018

One Quarter of Employees have Blacked Out after Drinking Too Much at Christmas Party, New Research from HR Specialists Moorepay Reveals

If your work Christmas party was a bit of a blur, you’re not alone. New research reveals over 25% of workers were so drunk at their work Christmas party, they couldn’t remember getting home. 

The survey of over 1,000 adults, carried out by Moorepay, also found that over 25% planned to have more than 10 alcoholic drinks at their work Christmas party.  

Christmas parties can be a fantastic morale boost for staff. However, employers need to be aware of potential risks that can arise from alcohol fueled situations.  

So, here’s our 5 steps to help you and your employees have a successful Christmas party: 

1. Reconsider the ‘free bar’  

Although employees often enjoy unlimited alcohol, this can be their downfall at Christmas parties. So consider distributing tokens for a limited number of drinks. Alternatively, ask employees to buy their own drinks and put your money into other things. For instance, have a raffle with great prizes – and remove the emphasis on alcohol.  

2. Be mindful of the dangers of drink driving the morning after a work Christmas Party 

If the day after your work Christmas party is a normal working day, it’s important to remind your employees of the dangers of drink driving. Encourage your employees to think ahead about how they will get to work if they have consumed alcohol the night before.  

Within some businesses, employees drive or operate machinery as part of their role. In these environments you need to consider how you will deal with this potential risk the morning after the Christmas party. 

Also, make it clear to employees that unexplained absence or a hangover-related illness is not acceptable. Remind them that any abuse of the sickness policy will be considered a disciplinary offence. You could consider allowing employees to start work an hour later to allow them longer to recover. 

3. Ensure you have the right policies and procedures in place  

The combination of alcohol and relaxed boundaries can result in drunken arguments. However, it can also give rise to serious misconduct such as unwanted sexual advances.  

There’s very clear guidance in employment law that you as an employer are vicariously liable for the behaviour of your employees at work social events. 

As our HR Technology & Services Director, Michelle Hobson, says: 

“You need to remember your duty of care towards employees. It’s important to make sure you have the right policies and procedures in place which explicitly state that sexual harassment in any context is completely unacceptable and potentially gross misconduct”. 

If you’d like to find out more about your role and responsibilities as an employer when holding a Christmas Party, click here to listen to our HR Essentials: Christmas Party Survival Guide Webinar. 

4. Train your managers and people in positions of responsibility  

Although everyone attending the function wants to enjoy themselves, people in a position of authority or responsibility need to watch out for drunken or abusive behaviour. Ensure your managers are trained on how to tackle with these situations should they occur.  

5. Enjoy yourselves 

Although all the above points are serious remember that your overall aim is for everyone to have fun. Ending the year on a real high note will help start 2019 with happy, motivated employees and allow you to focus on your new year plans. It’s all about balance – open the bubbly and celebrate the year gone by and your collective work achievements. But remember to respect your peers and your employer’s wishes.  

Christmas Party Survival Guide Webinar 

For more information listen to our Christmas Party Survival Guide webinar 

The webinar covers: 

  • Your role and responsibilities as an employer 
  • Dos and don’ts for hosting a Christmas party (incl. location) 
  • What to do before and during the day 
  • How to handle any fallout should things go wrong

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About the author

Hannah Booth