Do you provide alcoholic beverages for your staff at office events? While this is not an inappropriate thing to do, it is important to note a few things first, like the company policy on alcohol consumption, whether there is work the following day, and the drinking habits of some employees.
However, you need to reduce the legal liability of your organisation, and at the same time not allow legal concerns affect your relationship with employees.
Serving Alcohol at Business Events
A workplace poll revealed that 1 in 5 employees have experienced unwanted or inappropriate advances at an organised work event, where the other person had been drinking alcohol. The same poll also showed 3 in 100 workers have suffered injury as a result of the quantity of alcohol consumed at a workplace event.
Another recent survey conducted by Wall Street Journal discovered that about 38% of adults had attended holiday parties where alcohol was not provided. Meaning, more business events provide alcohol at their gatherings- with the business having a say on the type of alcohol.
It is not just about protecting the safety of your employees, but making sure your company’s reputation stays intact. It is even better if your organisation already has a strong alcohol policy in place.
The Christmas holidays are near and you’ll be blowing up the party balloons soon. If you are going to serve alcohol, here are 5 ways to keep employees safe at your event.
- Talk about your company culture
If your organisation already has a strong alcohol policy in place, remind your staff to keep within company limits. However, it is advisable to do this in the original mail inviting employees to the event. You could attach the alcohol usage guidance of your company’s code of conduct to the mail.
- Always serve appetizers at your event
Ensure you serve finger foods the same time with alcohol so your employees and guests are not drinking on an empty stomach. It is known that drinking on an empty stomach accelerates intoxication rates and makes the effect more heightened. You could serve finger foods such as donuts, samosas or spring rolls.
- Don’t make eating or drinking the focus of the event
Refreshments are usually listed as item 7 on the programme; to avoid making it the focus of the event, include other activities like speeches, award presentations or games. Sometimes, you could serve drinks on the side while the main event is going on.
- Consider serving light alcohol
It is better to serve light drinks like beer or wine instead of hard liquor. Avoid punch bowls that make it difficult for employees to gauge how much they drink. You could use a ticket system where people are only entitled to a beer and a glass of wine or both of each.
- Use professional bartenders
Hire professional bartenders to wait at the event. Never allow employees to serve each other. This curtails the quantity of alcohol that will be consumed by each person.
Finally, if you can, make sure there is a designated non-drinking driver for your employees, so they don’t drive themselves home.