An office holiday party has a 50/50 shot of being either really awesome or really terrible. The end of the year is a perfect time to reflect on your company’s success over the past year and is also a perfect opportunity to show your employees that you care about them. Everybody loves a party and it’s always nice to see the people you work with outside of “work mode” and even get a chance to meet their significant other. Holiday parties can be a lot of fun but the biggest question that most business owners always consider is the bar policy. Should it be an open bar? Should employees have to pay? Should there even going to be alcohol at all? All of these are serious questions to consider because nothing can turn a great night into a catastrophe quicker than a little too much of that holiday eggnog.
There are pros and cons to having an open bar at your holiday party, but a lot of it depends on your staff and what type of company you are. Are you a small business that has a tight-knit group of employees or are you a Fortune 500 that made billions in revenue this year? Regardless, every holiday party needs some type of festive cheer so let’s get into the pros and cons of open bars.
Nothing shows your employees that you appreciate them more than unlimited access to alcohol (aside from maybe a Christmas bonus, that is). Having an open bar could boost morale and team unity heading into the new year, getting your company off on a good start.
In addition to that, having an open bar gives your employees a chance to mingle more and potentially become closer to other people in the office that they may not talk to on a daily basis. Alcohol loosens inhibitions so who knows, maybe an open bar makes everyone in the office best friends afterwards.
An open bar also shows your employees that you trust them. By not limiting their alcohol consumption with making them pay for it you are telling them that you consider them adults and trust them to make good, adult choices. There are few things that employees like more than knowing that their higher ups have complete trust in them.
No Open Bar
There are two sides to every coin so let’s talk about some of the cons to having an open bar. For starters, an open bar can be expensive and if you are a small business you may not be able to financially afford to have a fully open bar at your holiday party.
A lot of holiday parties are not optional, or at least you are heavily encouraged to attend. Forcing employees to come to a party and then forcing them to pay for drinks could cause dissent among the ranks. Your employees could perceive you as cheap or stingy and, as a result, be less inclined to have a positive attitude in the work place, decreasing productivity.
Just like having an open bar shows your employees you trust them, it can also get out of hand. There’s nothing worse than a room full of drunk people getting angry and trying to fight each other. Bob from accounting hates the way Sharon from personnel treats him in the office? Well everybody is going to find out about it at the party because Bob had one too many drinks.
Obviously there are pros and cons to having an open bar and the real decision to have one or not depends on your company and your employees because no two companies are the same. If you decide to forgo the open bar for whatever reason there are other options that are available that can make your holiday party just as fun so don’t be afraid to get creative and always remember to show appreciation for everyone in your company because every single person there helps the company function.