How to host a safe and enjoyable holiday office party


From Metro Creative Services

Many people look forward to annual celebrations with coworkers during the holiday season. The holiday office party is customary at many businesses, but those traditions were largely shelved in 2020.

COVID-19 had a direct impact on office parties, with the majority of employers opting out due to community-wide gathering restrictions. This holiday season, thanks to the successful rollout of vaccinations for people age 12 and up, social gatherings are once again increasing in frequency. However, that doesn’t mean caution should be thrown to the wind. Safety should be priority number one as businesses return to the tradition of hosting office parties this holiday season.

Take the party outside
Weather varies across the country during the holiday season. But if concerns of congregating in tight spaces still prevail, especially with new variants of COVID-19 driving up infection rates, it may be safer to socialize outdoors. Heaters and fire pits can warm up spaces if the weather is chilly.

Opt for individually plated or prepackaged foods
Prevent the spread of germs and safely address the myriad food allergies employees may have by serving individually packaged meals. Similarly, suggest that well-meaning employees refrain from annual Christmas cookie or fudge exchanges this year.

Limit alcohol
Set parameters for how much alcohol is served, perhaps setting a drink limit for each employee. Alcohol can loosen inhibitions, which may make people engage in risky behaviors that can make them vulnerable to the virus and other threats to their health.

Provide transportation options
If the office party will include alcoholic beverages, develop a plan for getting attendees home safely afterwards. This may include hiring a ridesharing or cab company, or financing rides in a town car. In addition, ensure employees who do not feel comfortable leaving a venue alone at night can get home safely. Pair up employees who can carpool together. Allow employees to expense ride services.

Carefully consider location
Think about how location may play into overall safety risk. If there are plenty of bars or clubs nearby, then employees may indulge before or after the company party and their employer could be held responsible for their actions. Employers also must be cognizant of the neighborhood in which the event is held. Does it have a high crime rate? Is it far from public transportation? Is it desolate after certain times? Let safety be a driving force when choosing a location for the party.

Holiday office parties are returning to holiday season social schedules, and there are many ways to make them safe and enjoyable.

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