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Office Christmas party: A bad idea now?

The boozy, overly grabby office Christmas party – yeah, that’s probably a thing of the past, forever.

Companies looking for guidance on how to set boundaries for office parties can follow a few simple rules, laid out by Virginia Tech professor William Becker, an expert in organizational behavior and human resource management.

Becker’s rules:

  • Remind employees in advance of social gatherings that the organization has no tolerance for any inappropriate conduct.
  • Be extremely proactive when setting guidelines and limiting or monitoring alcohol consumption.
  • Make certain employees understand attendance is optional. It should not in any way be considered a condition of their employment.
  • Encourage spouses or significant others to attend.
  • Hold events in a family friendly setting.

Some companies are going to the extreme of canceling traditional office parties, but Becker says that isn’t necessary.

“I think it is extreme and short-sighted to cancel parties in order to avoid instances of poor behavior. Perhaps these organizations need to step back and look closely at their culture,” Becker said.



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