A Christmas tree and a holiday party
3 minute read

Running your own small business is always going to be hard work, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to celebrate with your employees during the holidays! Having a safe holiday party is a great way to recognize your employees and reward them for their dedication and hard work this year.

But the key word there is safe. Whether you deck the halls of your office and host a small celebration during working hours or you plan a larger bash somewhere off-site, it’s important that you take the necessary precautions to minimize risks and make sure nothing goes wrong. If you’re planning on busting out alcohol during your holiday party, remember that you’re responsible for your employees and guests both during the party and after the party ends.

To help you make sure your event runs smoothly, here are four tips for throwing a safe holiday party for your employees.

Make a list and check it twice

Santa isn’t the only one who should be making a list this holiday season. Before your party even begins, there are a few basic items that you should have prepared. Make sure you have a list of important employee information, including food allergies and emergency contacts. By keeping track of any allergies your employees might have, you can be proactive and serve food that won’t lead to any bad allergic reactions. Having a list of emergency contacts on hand is important because if something does go wrong, you’ll know the right person to call for each of your employees and their guests.

Know your venue, inside and out

Knowing the layout of your venue is important, whether you’re hosting at your office, your home, or an off-site location. Knowing all the intricacies of your venue will help ensure you host a safe holiday party.

When preparing the venue, make sure you perform all the winter maintenance needed. All walkways and exits should be clear of snow and ice. Before the party starts, and even during the party if it’s snowing hard, paths into and out of the building should be shoveled, and salt should be put down to clear any ice.

If your party is during the evening, the entrance to your venue should be well-lit. If it’s too dark, your guests could slip, trip, or fall on the premises, and you could be held liable for the damage.

Monitor the eggnog

If something goes wrong at a party, more times than not, alcohol can be blamed. Jamie Foxx sang a whole song about it. But alcohol usually plays a role in holiday parties, so you probably don’t want to cut it out of your event entirely. Luckily, there are ways to track and limit how much your guests drink during your holiday festivities.

One way to reduce this risk is to limit the amount of alcohol you have available or keep your group’s bar tab low. This way, you can ensure that your guests don’t drink too much liquor throughout the party. Drink tickets can also be used, so that each employee is given a designated number of beverages for the evening.

It’s always a good idea to provide non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers or those who would rather drink something other than alcohol. Having water easily available is an especially good idea so that everyone stays hydrated.

Wrap the party up like a nice-looking present

As the party is ending, you might be just about to breathe a giant sigh of relief. But you’re not out of the woods yet! Some of the biggest risks arise when the party is ending. As guests leave the party, you’re responsible for making sure that they get home safely. With both winter weather and alcohol involved, you’ll have several risks you need to navigate.

Make sure that no one drinks and drives. If you need to, pre-arrange taxi rides and hand out taxi chits to your guests. This is a great way to ensure that everyone has a fun time and gets home to their comfy beds safely! If anyone is injured or is involved in an accident that injures a third party or causes damages to property, you could be liable for the damages.

Be ready for the unexpected

Even if you’ve planned and prepared for every possible bad scenario, things can still take a turn for the worse. If you have business insurance, your commercial general liability coverage may cover your employees, their guests, and any third parties in the event of an accident. But be sure to double-check your policy prior to the party or look into getting the appropriate coverage if you don’t have it already.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to coverage. See policy for details.