For employers, fall is a fun season that presents great opportunities to provide gatherings, celebrations and teamwork building activities. Festive employer-sponsored activities can boost morale in the workplace and strengthen employee relations, which in turn can also help curb employee turnover. Halloween provides the perfect setting for employer-sponsored events such as hosting employee’s family members at the workplace, desk trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, bobbing for apples, and adult costume parties where alcohol is available.
However, any workplace celebration can also present liabilities ranging from safety to sexual harassment to a hostile work environment. Employers should prepare and communicate with employees’ a set of guidelines at employer-sponsored events to ensure appropriate behavior and a safe work environment. Below are 10 Halloween Tips for Work.
- Don’t count on employees to practice appropriate dress without a reminder. Advise employees that costumes should be G-rated and steer clear of anything that demeans political parties or figures, shows insensitivity to religions or nationalities, or makes fun of diseases such as mental illness.
- Unwanted physical contact, pornography, and fake weapons can make some employees feel uncomfortable and create a hostile work environment. Remind employees that professional behavior is expected even when the employee is wearing a costume.
- Set a non-provocative theme for adult costumes such as Disney characters, the Wild West, or the 1950s.
- Remind employees to make sure their costume does not affect their job or the work of those around them, such as bulky costumes or complicated group costumes. Makeup may be more fitting for a workday than a large mask.
- Encourage employees to have a dish of treats for passers-by at their workspace. This small gesture is a simple way to initiate conversations during the workday or a fun way to get the families involved in trick or treating at the office.
- Decorate your area to engage co-workers but keep safety in mind and avoid obstacles and tripping hazards.
- While spooky decorations can be fun, do not set up Halloween decorations that make noise or scare people who walk by, as these can be very distracting and frightening.
- When hosting a party with kids in attendance, focus on activities for the children of your employees. Most adults will behave when children are present.
- Keep eyeballs on the little monsters. If children will be in the office, don’t let them run wild. Even in a family-friendly office be sure to escort your kids around so they don’t get into any Halloween mischief.
- If you decide to have a Halloween celebration with alcohol, take caution. Monitor alcohol consumption at all Halloween celebrations, especially at a pumpkin carving party. Think twice, or three times, before serving alcohol at events for employees and their children.