Christmas is a time for fun and celebration but amidst the tinsel and festivities, what is known as the “silly season” can pose a number of risks for business owners. Here are our best tips on how you can avoid some of festive season’s risks.
Party time – excellent
According to recent figures by employment law consultancy Employsure, over 80% of businesses will host some form of end-of-year party this month. While this is a great time to celebrate the hard work you and your team have put in over the past 12 months, it can also be a time when things can go very wrong, particularly with alcohol involved. In fact, last year alone, over 70% of bosses disciplined staff due to bad behaviour at a Christmas function.
So what can you do to ensure that your Christmas bash doesn’t turn sour?
- Make sure food is served regularly throughout the event and is available from the get-go.
- Provide taxi vouchers or transport arrangements so your staff can get home safely.
- While your staff may be attending your party after hours, they’re technically at work, so behaviour that might be rewarded with a retort or slap on the weekend can be considered harassment in a working environment.
- Make sure you assign managers or team leaders to keep a watch on staff and to be ready to step in if someone goes over the line of appropriate behaviour.
- Ensure the service of alcohol policy is strictly enforced and make doubly sure your employees are aware of it.
- Remember, your staff members are at work and the normal occupational health and safety rules still apply. If an employee sustains an injury, they are well within their right to lodge a workers compensation claim.
In Australia, the festive season also happens to be smack-bang in the middle of storm and bushfire season for large parts of the country. The damage a large-scale thunder storm, cyclone or bushfire can cause is difficult to deal with at the best of times, but during the Christmas period many building, production or distribution services already stretched, making the impact of a natural disaster during this time much more significant. It’s always advisable to ensure your insurance cover is up to date and factors in the cost of your business being disrupted as well as the cost of replacing physical items. Talk to a qualified insurance broker for more information on ensuring you’re adequately covered.
As Christmas approaches, the lead up to the break can be extremely busy, with businesses working overtime to complete orders, finish projects or get ready for those much vaunted Boxing Day sales period.
Research conducted by GIO Workers Compensation has shown that there is a rise in workplace accidents during the Christmas period as many businesses cut corners or don’t take proper safety precautions in a rush to meet deadlines. Whatever your deadline is, the cost of a workplace accident is far greater.
Similarly, the rush to deliver on time coupled with employees taking leave during the Christmas period means many businesses turn to temporary staff to help out. As with any new employee, temporary staff will likely be unfamiliar with your business processes or safety practices, which could lead to mishaps both in terms of worker injury or productivity.
Make sure your temporary staff are performing tasks that match their skills and experience and provide any new employee, temporary or not, with a proper workplace induction.
With the increased demand of products and service, many businesses can fall behind delivery schedules. To prevent angry customers from lashing out or tarnishing your reputation, make sure you keep communicating with them and providing updates on when they’re likely to receive your product or service. Generally, people don’t mind waiting as long as they’re aware of it and will go out of their way to talk about a good customer service experience, which can go a long way in helping you grow your business.
Source: Know Risk