Close up of ornaments hanging from Christmas tree with employees socializing in the background.
4 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 holiday party is a great way to recognize your employees and reward them for their dedication and hard work this year. Plus, your employees won’t think you’re a Grinch!

You could deck the halls of your office and host a small celebration during working hours, or you could spread the holiday cheer and plan a larger bash somewhere off-site. Either way, 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 party is both safe and splendid, here are four festive tips for throwing a 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 despite your preventative measures, you know the right person to call for each of your employees or their guests.

Know your venue, inside and out

Okay, so you might not need a battle plan like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone, but 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 in making your party as safe as possible.

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 shovelled, 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. Nothing’s more of a party buzzkill than an injury and a costly lawsuit.

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 the risk of drunk shenanigans 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 amount of beverages for the evening.

It’s also 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 your guests leave the party, you’re responsible for making sure that they get home safely. With both winter weather and alcohol involved, you’ve got a number of risks you need to navigate.

Make sure that no one drinks and drives. If you need to, pre-arrange taxi ride and hand out taxi chits to your guests. This is a great way to ensure that everyone has a fun time and get 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 covered if you’re not already.

Enjoy planning your holiday party, and we ho-ho-hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

There are many moments where small business insurance comes in handy.

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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.