Every year managers across the country feel a pinch in their stomach when they hear this phrase “So what are we doing for this year’s Christmas party?”

It’s not that they don’t want to toast to another successful year with their team, in fact quite the opposite. But the annual staff party is fraught with potential pitfalls that can suck the fun out of it. Will Mary from Payroll get a bit too friendly with the gin again? Will Bob from Marketing get a bit too friendly with everyone?

Employers need to keep their wits about them, there are definitely real legal risks when it comes to duty of care. So to keep you in the clear here’s our Office Christmas Party Survival Guide for Managers!

Prevent Binge Drinking

Without being too much of a scrooge about it, don’t promote the party as boozy night where the aim is to drink all your colleagues under the table. Providing drink tickets instead of an open bar can reduce the risk of binge drinking.

Have Last Call an Hour Early

Stop serving alcohol an hour before you want people to leave / have to vacate the venue. Give people time to sober up and provide some water before you start sending them off.

Organize Safe Transport Home

Before the event, make it clear to your staff that you will be providing everyone with safe transport home for the evening. Have taxi vouchers available and/or organize designated drivers for the party.

Serve Plenty of Food

What kind of party would it be without an overdose of gourmet goodies! Other than making you a party hero, serving food throughout an event will help absorb the liquor. If your event is long, think about having some food served towards the end as well.

Have Non-Drinkers Present

Make sure you have at least one non-drinker present to monitor alcohol consumption. Enlisting a friend or spouse to help keep a sober eye out on everyone can be a godsend!

Use Professionals

Or you can bypass a lot of the stress by going to a licensed venue and having them take care of everything! Have professionals adopt that duty of care by hiring a venue and staff to host you and your team for the evening.

Have Fun!

One of the cardinal sins of managers at the work Christmas party is not actually joining in the fun! Remember this is a time to loosen the tie and be more relaxed with your team. Have a drink or two and really celebrate the hard work that you’ve all put in over the past year.