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Planning Your Holiday Parties

Employers need to take some level of responsibility for health and safety at a workplace party, like they do at work. But that doesn’t mean that you and your workers can’t have a great time. Here are some tips we recommend when planning your holiday party.

Tip #1: Clearly Communicate Your Expectations

When you share the news about your holiday party with your employees you should communicate your expectations in advance. Although employees are not in the course of employment while at the event, employees do ultimately represent the company and so they are required to behave professionally. Communicate if you are allowing alcohol consumption and/or the use of cannabis. As the employer, you set the rules for your holiday event.

Tip #2: Reduce Alcohol Consumption

There are a number of ways we can reduce alcohol consumption at a party. Some of these include only providing a set number of drink tickets, a closed bar during the holiday meal, slow service of alcohol procedures, and refilling water glasses frequently. If you’re hosting your event off-site you should talk to the event location about their procedures on reducing consumption.

Tip #3: Cannabis

This year more than ever, we have employers questioning what to do when it comes to cannabis. Employees are allowed to drink alcohol at your party, so do we have to put up with it or allow employees to use cannabis? Well, that’s your choice. Refer to Tip #1.

As an employer, you have to decide what you will allow. Will you allow alcohol? Will you allow cannabis? Make sure you have clearly communicated your expectations.

Tip #4: Offer Incentives

To encourage workers to not drink or consume drugs, you can always offer incentives, such as free non-alcoholic drinks and gifts to anyone who offers to be a designated driver.

Tip #5: Ask Everyone to Put Their Keys in the Bowl

When employees arrive, ask everyone to place their keys in a bowl. Designate a sober person to watch the bowl and do a check before returning keys to someone who wants to drive home. This person should look for any level of impairment.

Tip #6: Plan for Taxis and Accommodation

Share the phone number of a local taxi service with employees and where they can find affordable overnight accommodations should they need them. We recommend printing a few posters and hanging them up in visible places, such as doorways and in the washrooms.

Tip #7: Before the Toast

Before the toast and appreciation speeches, take 3 minutes to go over some general housekeeping items. Where is the nearest emergency exit? Where are the nearest washrooms? Where is the designated smoking area? What are your expectations?

Tip #8: Fit for Duty

So, you’ve had lots of fun at your holiday party and now it’s the next day. Any employee who attends work has to be fit for duty. If you’ve planned your event on a day of the week where the employee has to attend work the following day, again, recommunicate your expectations. No employee should be setting foot in the workplace unless they are prepared to work safely and effectively. This means under no source of impairment.


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