Party Smart This Holiday Season


NEW YORK—"’Tis the season to be careful,” is the motto of employers referring to holiday parties.

No matter how unblemished a record of past parties an organization may have, overdrinking is the major threat, because it can lead to accidents, unwanted sexual advances, fights between co-workers, and car accidents, to name a few.

Here are a few tips to plan a safe holiday gathering:

Restrict alcohol consumption. Reasonable limits include serving only beer and wine and issuing drink tickets, say providing only two free beverage servings to each employee. Also, you can also limit the hours during which alcohol is served, closing the bar once the meal has begun.

Reduce the effects of alcohol consumption. Bar snacks and other types of salty foods increase thirst and should be avoided at holiday parties. As well, a party that offers nothing more than music and alcohol increases the possibility of excess drinking.

Consider a party disclosure/waiver. This is a carefully crafted statement to the effect that participation in an employer-sponsored party is completely voluntary on the part of each employee. It also informs employees that they will be required to behave responsibly on their way to and from the party and during the festivities, with an emphasis on alcohol consumption.

One feature of the document should be to encourage employees to carpool to the event and/or to choose a designated driver in the family or work group in case of over-consumption. Each employee is then required to sign his or her understanding and acceptance of the waiver.

No matter what you may do to prepare for a safe and enjoyable holiday party, remember to emphasize one key point to your employees: “Please use good judgment and common sense. If you do so, we will all have a wonderful and enjoyable evening.”

Hedley Lawson, Contributing Editor
Managing Partner
Aligned Growth Partners, LLC