The festive period and, in many cases, the office Christmas party, is well and truly behind us now and hopefully everything went smoothly with everyone having a good time.
However, unfortunately it has been recognised for some time that office parties can present a range of problems. Employers do have a responsibility for their employees’ actions, even outside normal working hours or outside of the normal working environment, and any social event organised by the employer is an ‘extension’ of the workplace – regardless of the place or time of the event. For this reason, there is an abundance of advice regarding how companies can prepare for a successful office party and this includes ensuring all HR and health and safety policies are up to date – with particular focus on discrimination, bullying, harassment, workplace behaviour and alcohol and drug use. In addition to this, it’s certainly seen as good working practise to circulate a party policy beforehand so that people are clear of what is expected of them.
However, should things not go smoothly at office parties, there are certainly areas where Occupational Health (OH) professionals can assist the Employer to manage the situation. At this time of the year, examples of the advice sought (with the reason behind this) include:
- Assisting with/reviewing workplace drug and alcohol policies – after substances found in toilet immediately before the party.
- Determining fitness to work and advising on rehabilitation – after a person collapsed at a work party sustaining a serious head injury. (In these situation sometimes the issue of whether the fall was alcohol related ‘muddies’ the actual situation).
- Establishing whether someone who has been signed off work with stress is able to attend a disciplinary hearing to address an alleged incident.
The above are just examples and clearly, for some companies, a lot more needs to be done to try to avoid the uncomfortable situation from occurring in the first place. OH professionals can either assist with reviewing policies or, in the case of management referrals, give independent advice on the management of a health related situation. Both of these areas can support employers and help to ensure that next January is truly a happy start to the new New Year for everyone rather than a lingering hangover.
On a different subject matter should you feel that your employees could benefit from a Health Awareness Session (after the indulgences of the previous month) then please follow this link for information about how Lincoln Occupational Health can help with those new year fitness resolutions and, in turn, help the Employer maintain a health workforce.
For further advice regarding the above topic or delivering an onsite wellness programme, please contact us
T 0844 481 0093 E firstname.lastname@example.org