The Holiday Party 2022 – a few things to consider!!

By:  Jen Volmer

This year has brought many employees from remote work back into the workplace.  This time of year, we typically consider holiday parties for our staff and this is a great way to encourage social connections with our teams outside of work.  However, you may want to consider a few items before scheduling your holiday party this year!

  1. To party or not to party?  That is the question!

2022 has proven to be a tough economic year for employers and employees.  With inflation rising and costs for goods increasing, many employers may decide it is not economically feasible to have a party or social event this year.  If your company decides to refrain from a holiday party this year, it may be wise for the leaders to keep their own personal holiday celebrations low key.  Heed this warning about the former Peloton CEO, John Foley.  Last year, Foley instituted a hiring freeze and banned company holiday parties.  The problem with this is that during this time he held his own personal “swanky, invite only” holiday party in New York at the Plaza Hotel[1].  Needless to say, this did not go over well with employees.

Some employers have even tried the “unofficial” vs. “official” holiday party.  A good rule of thumb to remember is that when you are with someone from work, you are still “at work” and if a party were to get out of hand with any inappropriate behavior, “official” or not, it will affect the workplace.

Keep in mind that this holiday season is a great time for employees to reconnect with others in the workplace and a holiday party can be a great opportunity to encourage this connection.

  1. To drink or not to drink? That is the next question!

Alcohol and the workplace can be a recipe for disaster.   There are options when considering alcohol consumption at a party you may want to consider:

  • Consider no alcohol at the event
  • If you have hard alcohol, consider no hard alcohol, just wine and/or beer
  • Be sure to have food with any alcohol
  • Limit the hours of the bar
  • Limit the number of drinks available to each person i.e., drink tickets
  1. Virtual or In Person?  The final question!

As the workplace has become more geographically dispersed, many companies are hosting virtual team parties where drinks and snacks are ordered and the team plays a game over zoom.

  • Online murder mysteries
  • Game Shows
  • Virtual scavenger hunts

In person celebrations are a great way to bring back camaraderie that was lost during COVID.  Possible both approaches will work if the workplace is not all in one geographic location.

  1. A few other considerations:
  • Leaders need to role model good behavior and moderation in drinking
  • Be sure to set expectations that inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated
  • Set guidelines and expectations on limiting and/or monitory alcohol consumption
  • Be sure all employees know that attendance is OPTIONAL and not considered mandatory
  • Be sure to include spouses and/or significant others
  • Provide alternative transportation like Taxi/Uber/Lyft for those that may need a ride home

Whatever you decide is right for you organization, be sure to include all employees and communicate the expectations in advance.  This is a great time of year and holiday parties with coworkers can be a blast, just be sure yours is set up for success.