9 Winning Strategies for Alcohol at Work Events

Work events are a great way to celebrate with staff, reward them for their contributions, and encourage team socialization. When there’s alcohol at work events, you’ll want to have a few strategies in place so that everyone can have more fun in a safe environment.

The Canadian Mental Health Association shared its tips for hosting work events with alcohol, and they have a ton of winning strategies you’ll want to use at your next get-together. Here are nine tips you’ll want to share with the party planning committee:

1. Pour Creative Non-Alcoholic Options

In addition to making sure you have enough white and red for your party, why not pour a creative, non-alcoholic option? There are more delicious alcohol-free beers, wines, and canned mocktails than ever before.

2. Get Plenty of Snacks

Anytime you’re serving alcohol, you must serve snacks alongside beverages. This will create a much safer – and more fun – experience for all. As you refill the chip bowl, remember that too many salty snacks can make people want to drink more, so offer a balanced spread.

3. Prioritize Water

Keep everyone at your event well-hydrated by prioritizing water. Have full pitchers of water around the room for guests to help themselves. Remember that alcohol can dehydrate your guests, and alternating water between alcoholic drinks is safer.

4. Have Designated Servers

Did you know that Serving It Right standards apply when serving alcohol at a work-related function? You’ll want to have designated, licensed servers at your event, so get a few staff trained up on Serving It Right if you plan to have recurring workplace events with drinks.

5. Encourage Safe Consumption

A few beverages with coworkers can be splendid. But it’s up to workplace leaders and event organizers to set the tone. You do not want to encourage a culture of binge drinking. “Excessive drinking can lead to disinhibition, which can increase the chance of inappropriate behaviour and comments a person may regret later,” says CMHA. You want to create an atmosphere of moderation to create a safe environment for everyone, especially for your own liability.

It’s not just physical harm and the Workers Compensation Act around worker safety that you have to consider. If alcohol contributes to inhibition, which then fuels inappropriate conduct toward others, then BC’s Human Rights Code gets engaged if other party-goers are harassed because of their sex, gender, age, or race, for example, and make a formal complaint against the company.

6. Measure Wine and Liquor

Use a measure to serve wine and a jigger for spirits. This will allow your servers to ensure they’re pouring standard drink sizes. While a generous pour or a “double” could be seen as an act of hospitality, stick to standard drink sizes so that your guests can better moderate their consumption.

7. Respect the Diversity of Choices in the Room

Remember that some may pass on alcoholic drinks for health and personal reasons. For this reason and others, alcohol consumption should not be the main focus of a work event. Showing respect for the diversity of choices around alcohol in your office will make it a better environment for all.

8. Encourage Socialization

Work events are all about socialization. So, how can you encourage folks to mingle without focusing on alcohol? Plan engaging entertainment. The only limit is your imagination, but entertainment options include dance, music, games, crafts, activities, and hiring an entertainer.

9. Make Sure Everyone Gets Home Safely

Before the party begins, ensure your employees know they are expected to have a safe way to get home. That could look like encouraging staff to pre-arrange transportation well before the drinks flow or offering to reimburse the cost of a ride home.

Whether you employ some or all of these strategies at your next party, they’re sure to help you confidently manage work events with alcohol and lead to an overall better experience for all.

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