Today, Friday December 6th, sees the Practice Christmas parties start to peak. I have been wary of these events since the first one I attended as a callow associate where someone caused a significant amount of damage to themselves and other more inanimate equipment whilst attempting the, err, creative use of a photocopier. At another practice one of the associates decided to try a cocktail of Rioja and RA; presumably it made some sort of sense because the first and last letters of the words were the same.
One year was memorable because nobody missed the 16 year old trainee nurse after she glugged her way through more glasses of punch than she ought. Her plight didn’t become apparent until she woke up behind a sofa in the waiting room at 2am and triggered the motion detectors of the burglar alarms. The principal’s wife, a stern churchgoer & teetotaller was less than amused to have to leave her snoring, sozzled, spouse sleeping to make the 20 mile round trip to respond to the police call out and then deliver the, now green round the gills, trainee to her parents.
So here are Rees’s top 10 for a happy party.
- Lay down the rules well in advance. Remind everyone that wherever they are is an extension of the practice premises so the business rules with regard to discrimination, harassment and discipline still apply. The last thing you want in the new year is a tribunal or a disciplinary hearing.
- Don’t have the party on the practice premises. No matter how careful everyone is and how good your cleaners are you will be faced with that “after-party” aroma on the next working day.
- Have the bash on a Friday or Saturday – no one wants to work the next day. More to the point no one wants the embarrassment of having to pull a sickie.
- Don’t let the alcohol flow too fast or too early. A few glasses of fizz on an empty stomach can be the start of a very trying and “tiring” evening.
- Make sure that there is no way anyone can be tempted to drink and drive. If that means hiring a minibus or booking taxis do it.
- Have a definite end point. Spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents can be told that they can collect at X o’clock. If people choose to go on to a club whatever that’s their choice.
- It’s an evening when inhibitions can slip and secret admirers reveal their feelings – beware. This is particularly relevant for, but not unique to, young, single, male associates. Ban the mistletoe.
- Bosses give yourself an “out”, if things are getting wilder than you like or if one of the fuelled team members decides to share their business management philosophy which is at some variance with yours. Discretion is the better part of valour.
- Don’t make promises which in the cold light of Monday you can’t keep.
- Enjoy yourself – make it memorable for all the right reasons.
BONUS Tip – Keep all your receipts £150 per head is allowable for tax deduction
PS. It was at the end of an in house practice Christmas party (the one where the dentist tried the RA & Rioja) that my wife and I first realised that there was a mutual attraction – but that’s another story.