Keeping Holiday Parties Healthy

Holiday parties are the perfect time for people to connect and relax with their co-workers. They can also be the perfect mix for disaster with unhealthy eating, drinking and behavior.  Having a “healthy” holiday party includes but extends beyond what food you’re serving.

Setting your celebration up for success can be achieved by setting some ground rules before the festivities begin.  Employee conduct should be a reflection of the company’s core values.  Bad things do happen sometimes but let’s focus on the fun and get into the holiday spirit.

Below we provide 4 tips to help keep your holiday fun healthy:

1. Healthy Holiday Party Eating – Plan a menu with healthy snacks.  Giving employees something good to nosh on will keep them from over-eating while helping them balance their eating/drink ratio.  If you are planning to serve a full dinner make sure to provide healthy options; if you’re offering a heavy pasta dish balance it off with the availability of lighter vegetables.  If your serving alcoholic beverages consider putting limits on an open-bar.

2. Identify a Designated Decision Maker – Always have an “adult” in the room. Whether it be a manager, executive of the “social planning committee” making sure there are responsible people at the event will ensure that any inappropriate behavior gets addressed immediately.  Open bars and alcohol can often lead to misbehavior you want to prevent that leads to lawsuits and complaints of sexual harassment.

3. Set Social Media Guidelines – Living in the age of social media it seems that everything is captured with a digital footprint, whether it be posting an image on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat.  Remind employees to be respectful of themselves, their colleagues and their company by acting appropriate so nothing gets posted they wouldn’t want to be.  And in turn encourage employees to be discreet about what they post so they don’t embarrass a co-worker unintentionally (or intentionally).

4. Reinforce the Company Code of Conduct – Just because you’re outside of the office walls doesn’t mean the business code of conduct should be forgotten.   Set expectations with your employees by reminding them what your organization deems as appropriate workplace behavior. Encourage employees to speak with you prior to an event if they have any concerns about activities that may transpire. Better to have employees ask for permission than beg for forgiveness.

Planning a holiday party can be a daunting task but it can also be delightful.  Whether a small office gathering at a restaurant or a big budget blow-out at catering hall, laying the groundwork for a healthy experience; be it physical, mental or emotional health; will have your employees talking about your holiday bash for all the right reasons in the year to come!

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