THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
‘Tis the season to be jolly but Christmas can throw up a whole host of work place issues; here’s our twelve days of Christmas survival guide to some of the most common festive problems and how to prepare for them.
On the first day of Christmas…..Holiday requests
If your company’s holiday year runs from January to December, it can often be the case that staff find themselves with several holidays left to take during December. Make sure that you have a fair system in place in case requests need to be turned down to ensure staffing levels.
On the second day of Christmas…..Office party
The office party should be a chance for everyone to relax, let their hair down and enjoy the company of their colleagues. However, employers need to be aware that there are many pitfalls which may occur and should prepare for these and communicate clearly to staff what is expected of them beforehand and arrange an event which is inclusive to all employees.
On the third day of Christmas…..Christmas gifts
Some employees will find that Christmas is a time when they start to receive gifts from grateful suppliers and customers. Whilst the odd box of chocolates or bottle of wine shouldn’t necessarily raise any eyebrows it is important to be clear to staff what the process is for keeping and declaring any gifts that they receive.
On the fourth day of Christmas…..Weather conditions
Whether or not we will see a white Christmas this year remains to be seen but it is important that you think about what steps you have in place to deal with problems employees may have getting to work due to adverse weather conditions or issues with public transport through strikes or changes to services.
On the fifth day of Christmas…..Seasonal sickies
Winter can see an increase in the number of staff absences so make sure you have your policies in place for reporting and recording sickness.
On the sixth day of Christmas…..Dress codes
If the usual dress code policy is being relaxed, do be clear on what will still be considered appropriate wear for the work place. Seasonal events such as Christmas Jumper Day can be a fun and enjoyable time for staff; however, be careful about how you inform staff of such events and ensure that it is made clear that participation is optional!
On the seventh day of Christmas…..Christmas bonus
If Christmas bonuses have been paid to staff in previous years then there may be an expectation that this has become the norm. Make sure your senior staff are aware that they shouldn’t be making any promises to employees as this can lead to disappointment or issues arising from then needing to make good on those promises!
On the eight day of Christmas…..Religion and belief issues
Employers should ensure that they have in place a policy on religious holidays and festivals that fall at other times of the year. Those employees who do not celebrate Christmas may still wish to take part in festive events and activities so it is important that you don’t assume that they will want to opt out but they should also not be put under pressure to participate.
On the ninth day of Christmas…..Secret Santa
Ensure Secret Santa is a fun event for all involved by putting in place a few simple measures such as an agreed budget and a reminder that people need to be careful with their selection of gifts so that they are not considered to be offensive!
On the tenth day of Christmas…..Social media
A timely reminder about the company’s social media policy will help avoid potential problems arising from posts and photos which may not present an employee, their colleagues or the company in a positive light.
On the eleventh day of Christmas…..Winter bugs
December is one of the most common months for absenteeism through illness. Encourage employees to practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of germs and ensure that you outline the guidelines on returning to work after a bout of illness to try and cut down on bugs being passed onto other people.
On the twelfth day of Christmas…..Festive flings
When the professional and social lives of employees come together at Christmas – complete with a healthy dose of festive cheer – love might certainly be in the air. Be clear on the company policy regarding work place relationships and what is considered unacceptable behaviour.
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