The Office Christmas Party – The Bosses Perspective[/caption]Every year when bosses mention the words Christmas Party, employees either retract into fear or jump with joy. Free drink up, some say. And oh no, not that time of year again, others mumble.
But what the staff don’t realise is that the boss is the one person in the office who may be dreading it the most. The boss must worry about where to go and what to do, how much it will cost and whether there is enough money in the company budget to pay for it.
The buck stops with the boss, as does the effort required to ensure everyone has a good time.
The boss needs to factor the cost into the budget. No matter what you do it’s going to cost money. Like everything else at this time of year, the cost of going out is automatically escalated because its Christmas.
Ensure you find something that fits within the allocated budget. There really is no point in going to the Ritz and only being able to afford the nibbles. There are plenty of cheaper options like putting some money behind the local bar or getting a carry out and having a drink in the office.
Just because you are the boss this doesn’t make you the best party planner. So, don’t feel you have to do it all by yourself. Your idea of a Christmas shing-ding might not be what the staff have in mind. Don’t be afraid to ask your staff what they would like to do. Give everyone plenty of notice and communicate the date, time and venue.
Wherever you plan to go someone will need to pre-book. Consider how people will get to and from the venue and avoid choosing somewhere too far from the office. Not only will this make it easy for everyone to get there but it will save you extra expense as staff can make their usual way home.
Perhaps opt for a buffet or a stand around venue to avoid having the stress of planning seating arrangements, this can be just as political as a wedding.
Not everyone wants to get dressed up. Consider the pay of the average staff member. Staff may not be able to afford to hire a tuxedo or treat themselves to something new.
It’s probably best to avoid fancy dress or themes, as this can add pressure to an already stressful event. Sometimes the easiest option is not to have a dress code and just let people go as they are dressed for the office. This way people can choose how much effort they want to put in.
Deciding whether to invite your staff’s other half’s can lead to extra expense and additional problems. For good measure stick with one rule that applies to all, otherwise you’ll have a riot on your hands.
Consider that it can often be hard enough mixing with work colleagues, let alone having to worry about speaking to or impressing people’s partners.
The day after the Christmas Party can be just as stressful for the boss, after all there is a business to run. Considerations need to allow for the possibility that staff may fail to turn up on time, if at all. And if they do will they be able to function. What action will you take against anyone who acts out or fails to turn up in a fit condition for work.
The best way to tackle this to communicate clearly what will and will not be tolerated before the event. And if this is still a worry then plan your do on a Friday.
Just because you are the boss doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. Know your boundaries and remember that you need to set an example. Help to cement relationships and memories that will be carried positively into the New Year. And if you are really dreading it and feel you can’t get into the spirit, even if just for a few hours, then perhaps don’t go. Instead appoint another senior member of staff to wear the boss’s trousers or skirt for the night. This can save everyone and you those awkward moments that may well be remembered way into next year for all the wrong reasons.
Next week: Helping to support Christmas Charities