Christmas can be a great time for businesses but it can also be a stressful time. In this article, we will look at some of the potential issues you need to look at and be prepared for over the festive season.
The Christmas party
There are of course various clichés about people’s behaviour during office parties. While you want people to have fun it is still important to emphasise that certain rules are still in place (such as harassment or misuse of equipment).
While this may sound obvious or silly, companies can in fact be damaged by this. Therefore, you may want to consider organising a party outside the office and themed around a specific activity (eg bowling) so that it is fun but at the same time limiting any potential issues that may cause problems in the office later on.
However, it should also be emphasised that if you misbehave at a celebration outside the office you may still expected to be disciplined – this is especially if the misbehaviour is high profile (for example, a negative headline associated directly with your business).
Sometimes offices will allow more casual dress during this time. However, it is important to be clear – for example, if you don’t want your staff wearing onesies make it clear in your rules with plenty of notice. Also, while this may seem overly sensitive be aware that some people may not celebrate Christmas so equally people should be allowed to not wear items if they don’t want to.
While this year Boxing Day falls on a Monday this is not necessarily considered paid leave unless stipulated in a contract. Businesses are often open or partially open around this time so it is important to be clear with employees regarding who can take time off and who will be expected to work.
In some cases closure may be included in staff holidays – make sure you give plenty of notice so that employees can arrange their time off in advance so that you do not need to enforce time off.
It is also important to note that sickness policies remain in force around this time and while it may be a cliché companies need to be aware of absence patterns around this time, especially around the party season. Employees need to know what their responsibilities are with this and disciplinary action needs to be consistent.
Customers and clients may give gifts to your staff – while the odd gift is alright you should limit to around £10. While there is no official limit on this there is a fine line between a gift and bribery, which is why it is important to have a policy on this and stick to it.
If you run a shop your returns policy needs to be clear- remember to check the rules regarding returns.
There are various issues that can come up over the Christmas period. If you are not sure and want to know more, please contact us today and we will be happy to discuss your circumstances in more detail.