Five tips for a safe and festive office holiday party

3 minute read

Throwing a holiday party is a great way to build comradery and show your appreciation for your employees’ hard work throughout the year. As impactful as these festivities can be for team morale, it’s equally as important to ensure that they’re safe for your staff and their guests to attend.

Whether your event is hosted on your premises or at an off-site location, if something should go wrong, you could be held responsible. No one wants to be a grinch at a fun event, but there are a few easy things you can do before and during the party to ensure it runs smoothly. Here are some things to keep in mind as you celebrate this holiday season!

1. Make a list, and check it twice

Prepare beforehand by making a list of important employee information, including food allergies and emergency contacts. This way you can make sure to serve food that won’t lead to any allergic reactions, and if something should go wrong, you’ll know who to call for each of your employees and their guests.

2. Play by the rules

Whether you’re hosting a holiday party on or off-site, it’s a good idea to remind staff of your company’s policies and that they apply regardless of location.

3. Deck the halls (and check for hazards)

When preparing your venue, ensure that festive decorations, installations or lighting are clear of emergency exits and that they don’t pose a tripping hazard. And don’t forget to check the building’s exterior for potential hazards. To help ensure that no guests fall and injure themselves, make sure there is adequate lighting where guests may be walking outside of the building, especially at night. Checking the premises before the event for any cracks or potholes in the walking surface is also important. If there are any issues, or an uneven walking surface, and there’s no time to fix the problem, be sure to provide adequate signage pointing out the issue to guests. Or you can work out a way to direct guests in and out of the party via a different route.

4. Arrange transportation home

While the safest way to avoid any alcohol-related incidents at your office party is to host a dry event, if drinks are being served, be sure to arrange an alternate way for your guests to get home. Consider organizing car pools, requesting special room rates at nearby hotels, or offering taxi chits to help ensure that your guests arrive home safely. Remember: even if the event was catered and professional bartenders were exclusively responsible for serving drinks, the host can still be held liable for making sure guests don’t drive while impaired. If you are serving alcohol at your event, consider taking these precautionary measures to avoid any related incidents.

5. Monitor the weather

While winter weather may seem like the perfect backdrop for your festivities, even the lightest snowfalls can pose certain risks. Prior to the guests arriving, ensure all necessary winter maintenance has been performed, including clearing all walkways and exits of snow and ice. If it snows during the event, make sure that walkways and parking lots remain clear. The last thing you want is for someone to slip, trip, or fall on the premises. If they do, you could be held liable for the damage. Throughout the event, keep one eye on the forecast or download a weather-monitoring app that will alert you if anything changes.

Before hosting your festive event, be sure to check your insurance policy to see if additional coverage is necessary. Because even with your best efforts, things can still go wrong. Visit our business insurance page to find out more!