Hosting office parties can be a mine field of potential problems. These can be social, professional, or legal. Therefoere, it’s wise to plan office parties very carefully. Here are few tips to help avoid problems and have a successful office party.
- Be very clear. Be clear about the workplace substance abuse policy. It should address the use of alcoholic beverages in any work-related situation.
- Make the policy known. Make sure everyone knows the alcohol policy.
- Reinvent the office party. Consider trying something new. Perhaps an indoor carnival, group outing to an amusement park, or volunteer activity with a local charity.
- Make sure everyone know when to say when. If you serve alcohol, make sure everyone knows that they are expected to act responsibly.
- Provide options for non-drinkers. Make sure to have plenty of attractive non-alcoholic beverages. For recipes see Non-Alcoholic Drink Recipes for Great Drinks: Delicious and Fun.
- Eat…and be merry! Avoid serving lots of salty, greasy or sweet foods. These tend to make people thirsty. Instead, serve foods rich in starch and protein. These stay in the stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol.
- Designate party managers. Remind managers that they may need to enforce the company’s alcohol policy.
- Arrange transportation. Anticipate the need for alternative transportation. Make special transportation arrangements in advance of the party. Encourage everyone to use the alternative transportation if they drink alcohol.
- Serve none for the road. Stop serving alcohol well before the party ends.
These tips for hosting office parties are adapted from some given by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Resources: Hosting Office Parties
Australian Drug Foundation. Hosting Better Parties: Practical Tips for Managing Alcohol at Parties. S. Melbourne, Vic: The Foundation, 1999.
Fox, G. Office Etiquette and Protocol. NY: Learning Express, 1998.
Perdue, J. Club Manager’s Guide to Private Parties. NY: Wiley, 1998.
If alcoholic beverages are served, be aware of all laws regarding their use and closely follow them. Consider getting legal advice. These tips are not legal advice.