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Flow before you go – the new rule for the staff Christmas party!

staff party

Christmas 2020 was the first time in as many years as I can remember, that I didn’t trot out myHRdept’s guide to staff Christmas parties. Aside from the odd predictable (but admittedly not terribly funny) references to incidents with photocopiers, the article does actually carry some useful tips on what to do and not to do, and what to do if someone does something they really shouldn’t have done– which every year someone invariably does. If you want to read the article you can read 2018’s here – it’s all still relevant despite the passage of time.

Flow before you go

New to the party scene though, and not something we would have envisaged in 2018, is the concept of ‘lateral flow, before you go.’ Many employers are asking staff to test themselves before they head to the staff party and, obviously, not to come if the test proves positive.

52% of employers not planning a party

According to Covid testing company Prenetics (mentioned on the BBC news site this morning,) 52% of employers have decided not to hold a Company Christmas party this year. NatWest, Aviva and Deloitte are holding smaller bashes and have said that this year’s party won’t be compulsory (I always thought compulsion took the edge off a good party) and many other employers are quoted as telling their staff that attendance is a matter of personal choice. Many large employers are reported to have abandoned the single Company Christmas bash, preferring to allow individual departments to make their own smaller arrangements.

All these seem perfectly sensible precautions given the emergence of the Omicron strain and the lack of knowledge about its transmissibility and potency, though we also note that early anecdotal evidence across the news seems to suggest that the strain is no worse than any of the other variants. That would appear to be the best ‘good’ news we can hope for at this stage.

Hospitality industry reporting Christmas cancellations

Alongside all of this the hospitality industry are reporting customer cancellations because of fears of the new variant – one bookings provider noted that cancellations were 14% higher last week compared to the previous week. Once again, conflicting messages from government and certain health officials are not helping consumer confidence, but we can only keep our fingers crossed that in coming days the anecdotal good news I mentioned earlier is substantiated. If that happens then Christmas might be reinstated and the doomsday predictors can return to their dark holes to grumble about the irresponsible masses, until the next variant comes along.

Are you planning a Christmas do for your staff?

For the 48% of employers intending to host a Christmas bash (ourselves included), we should try to remember that the hospitality industry needs us, as much as we need them & book with local pubs and hotels wherever possible. Employers may wish to ask attendees to test themselves before coming, and some employers may choose to recirculate their alcohol and drugs and dignity at work policies in advance of the party.

myHRdept will be hosting its annual staff Christmas do this year, and it’ll be nice to do that again having skipped a year in 2020. The following rules will, however, apply:

  • The team will be asked to take a lateral flow test on the morning of the do, and not to attend if positive.
  • Attendance is optional.

HR Support from myHRdept

If you need help updating your HR policies, myHRdept’s HR support services are ideal. Included within all of our HR outsourced support packages is a bank of support hours to help manage staff issues. In most cases client HR support hours banks are not impacted by time spent updating handbooks, employment contracts, or introducing new policies.

If you’re thinking of outsourcing your HR or employment law needs, why not contact myHRdept? Call us on 01628 820515, email us at to discuss your requirements, or contact us via our website and we’ll call you back.


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