What to do before you head out to the ballgame
Spring is in the air, it’s finally fun to be outside, and chances are good that your company is about to invite you (and possibly your family) to an outing such as a picnic or a baseball game.
Most often, these group outings are enjoyable. Spending time with colleagues away from the office helps with morale and teamwork. You can let off some steam. You meet one another’s families.
But outings like these can also pose potential issues for both employees and employers. Before you go to a company party, make sure you know the rules of the game.
If You’re an Employee
Company outings are one of the perks of being an employee. Often you’ll be treated to entertainment, food and maybe a beer or two. But before you take that drink, think about your obligations. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you safe to drive home?
- If you aren’t, how do you plan to get home?
- What is your company policy about drinking during group events?
- Did your invitation make it clear how many drinks (if any) would be provided?
It might sound like a literal buzz kill, but one drink too many can ruin a reputation or even a career. A boisterous team member can leave a bad impression on a supervisor or a teammate. Public intoxication could violate a human resources policy. And risking your safety — and the safety of your coworkers and the public in general — by driving drunk could be cause for immediate termination.
Those might all sound like simple guidelines, but we’ve all seen that coworker who’s gone a step too far. And thanks to social media, those moments can linger for years. We’ve all read about social media fails that happen when employees post something they shouldn’t be doing at work. But even the most innocuous post can have consequences.
Before you post a selfie saying, “Cheers!” with your coworkers, think about its lasting impression. Your company might have a social media policy that prohibits talking about the company online. You also could have coworkers who don’t want their images published online.
Enjoy the game — just keep the selfies to yourself, and drink responsibly.
If You’re an Employer
Preparing a company outing is a huge undertaking, and one that can improve the relationships in your department. But you’re also taking on a big liability by having a party in public.
If you’re providing alcoholic beverages, consider a ticket or voucher system that ensures no one is over-served. You might want to consider printing the drink limit on the invitation, such as “Employees over age 21 are welcome to enjoy up to two alcoholic beverages. See HR for your drink tickets.”
Still, it’s possible that you could have impaired employees when the event is over. It might be wise to arrange a car-pool system, have cabs available, or arrange group transport via bus or coach. This might sound like a big expense, but you and your company are potentially liable if there’s a drunk-driving accident after your event.
If this is of particular concern to you, it might be wise to consult your Human Resources department to find out about your company’s policies, any legal policies and/or insurance information. While these events are fantastic for team building, they can become potential legal issues when drinking and driving are involved.
To prevent any of these issues, plan ahead, communicate expectations to employees and then — go have fun!