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Do you celebrate Christmas in the workplace?

Employers may be concerned that it is inappropriate to celebrate Christmas in a multi-faith workplace.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has said that denying a celebration of Christmas in a country where the predominant religion is Christianity can undermine community cohesion. Celebrating Christmas can help to foster a positive seasonal atmosphere and good employee relations.

An employer that puts up a Christmas tree and decorations should continue to do so but could show sensitivity to employees of other faiths by having seasonal, rather than religious, imagery. Similarly, employers should continue
to support Christmas parties and lunches, but could ensure that all employees feel welcome by providing alternatives to the traditional Christmas menu and alcohol.

In addition to celebrating Christmas, if an employer has a significant number of employees who wish to celebrate a different religious festival, it could consider providing resources and support to enable employees to do this.
Christmas parties can be fundamental in boosting engagement and instilling a sense of stability for your employees. So be pro-active and start planning. Remind your staff that office parties are meant to be fun social events, but they also remain strictly business events.

Businesses expect teams to behave appropriately but this is not always the case and you may have to deal with issues that arise. Even if your Christmas party is outside of working hours, your employees still need to behave in accordance with the company’s rules and procedures; consider introducing an alcohol policy that instils self-awareness and encourages appropriate behaviours.

If you are not going to be able to have a party this year don’t worry, but think about an alternative, in order to celebrate the end of this challenging year. Maybe a short excursion or virtual experience, Secret Santa or charity day.

Make sure you embrace the spirit of the festivities whilst protecting your business. We are at hand to ensure that you are prepared and protected for any HR headaches this Christmas.

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