Christmas can be a daunting time of year for employers. There are a number of issues which can affect your business and make the festive period far less jolly than it should be.
The first issue relates to holiday allowances. If you close for the Christmas period, it is vital that employees have kept enough holidays back. It is important to communicate this as early as possible so they know how many days’ leave they must keep back for Christmas. This can be stipulated at the start of the year, so employees are aware of how much of their holiday entitlement they will require to use for shutdowns. As well as improving business efficiency, following good management practice for annual leave is beneficial for employee welfare & motivation.
Christmas parties are another major issue for employers at this time of year. The consequences of any poor behaviour during a Christmas party can be detrimental to both the company and employee. Employers should set distinctive ground rules regarding how employees should behave during social gatherings. You should consider the location of the function, e.g. do you want to allow it on company premises, and guidelines regarding the consumption of alcohol. A clear, written policy will certainly help and you should make sure that all employees are aware of this prior to any event. Behaviour that could bring the company’s name into disrepute should be dealt with through your disciplinary procedures. Employees need to understand that any inappropriate behaviour at a work party will be dealt with in the same way as if it had happened during work time.
According to research by Willis Towers Watson, almost a quarter (24 %) of 18 to 34-year-olds say they have gone into work still feeling drunk after boozy nights out over the past 12 months. This figure falls to 12% among the over-35s. Companies should have a policy around alcohol and drugs, which clearly sets out a zero-tolerance approach to being intoxicated in the workplace. Absenteeism can be another serious issue the day after a party. The employer should make sure that they have clear sickness and absence procedures in place to deal with anyone absent from work. Any absence without authorisation or without proper reasoning should be deemed unauthorised.
Ultimately, all of these issues can be addressed and, better still, avoided if the company have robust policies and procedures in place, which are clearly understood by everyone. With the right approach, we can all have a very merry Christmas, without the need for the ghosts!