Archive for November, 2011

Time for Reruns . . . .

I’m not talking about reruns of Gilligan’s Island. (for those of you under 50,  find out what Gilligan’s Island is here).  I’m talking about reruns of blog posts.  “Why, Steve? Why are you posting reruns?” you ask?  Well, there are a couple of reasons:  First, it is the beginning of the holiday season and I just don’t feel like working that hard on a blog post;  Second,  it is important; and  Third, the rules have not changed.

So rather than trying to fool you into believing that I came up with some great new post, I’m going to be straight with you all and tell you up front that I posted this same set of rules last year at about this time.  You can find it here.

With all that being said, here are some things to consider when setting up your holiday party. (By the way, this is not only a rerun, it is a rerun of a rerun.  Greg Kilby  wrote an article on this very topic.  Find it here.)

  • Hire professional bartenders: Even if you have an open bar, it is better to have someone such as a bartender dispensing the alcoholic drinks. Instruct bartenders on when to limit alcoholic service. That way, gatekeepers limit the access to the alcohol and can prevent inebriated people from further imbibing.
  • Serve food: Make sure there are plenty of things to eat so that people are not drinking on empty stomachs; avoid having too many salty foods since these encourage people to drink more.
  • Have plenty of soft drinks: Provide sodas, sparkling juices, bottled water and lots of other appealing “soft” drink options.
  • Hand out drink tickets: Give all attendees a limited number of tickets for the open bar; once the tickets are gone, they can purchase their own drinks (reducing your liability) or drink the plentiful soft options.
  • Skip the alcohol altogether: Have an earlier holiday gathering, such as a lunch banquet, and do not serve alcohol.
  • Offer shuttles or distribute free taxi passes: This makes it easy for employees to get to and from the party without driving. This way, an employee can hitch a ride home that evening and maybe even back to work the next day in a cab.
  • Remind everyone of the policies: Before the party, circulate a memo reminding people of your sexual harassment policies; let them know that the policies apply to events outside of the 9-5 environment. Remind supervisors of the rules and what to do if they witness or hear of potential harassment.
  • Have a dress code: Suggest a dress code for the party that keeps things professional. Avoiding provocative dress can alleviate some forms of harassment.
  • Host a family event: Instead of limiting attendees to employees, invite their spouses or families. Consider inviting clients or business partners. The presence of other people may help keep the event appropriate.
  • Avoid certain traditions: While mistletoe may be your favorite decoration of the season, it really does not belong in the office. Avoid anything that could contribute to an environment of harassment.

Happy Holidays.