A guide to hosting safer, healthier, more welcoming events
The end of the year is a time a lot of people celebrate and get together, including at work. If your organization or business is planning a seasonal workplace event, consider the options below to make your event safer, healthier and more inviting to all kinds of attendees.
Remember the diversity in the room
Just as people have different dietary needs for a range of reasons, there’s a whole spectrum of choices around alcohol, too. Mindful drinking and being sober curious are also growing movements that focus on being more thoughtful about drinking. For these reasons, it’s important to include different options so everyone can have fun and feel part of the festivities.
Don’t forget the nibblies
Having food available at events that serve alcohol is a healthier, safer—and more fun—option. Have several types of edibles around and keep the snacks topped up. Watch out for super-salty stuff: too many salty snacks can make people want to drink more.
Plan other ways to support socializing
Holiday events are about socializing, so make that the focus. Plan engaging entertainment that has nothing to do with what you’re drinking. This could include music, dance or movement, games, crafts, entertainers or other activities. People tend to drink more if they are just standing around.
Get creative with non-alcoholic options
There are more alcohol-free beers and wines available than ever before, so think of adding some to your event’s offerings. There are also a range of mocktail products and recipes you can find online.
Keep a measure handy for pouring wine and liquor
Keep your alcohol servings in line with standard drink sizes. Avoid generous pours and doubles. Using a measure to pour wine and a jigger for spirits helps your guests know how many drinks they are having over the course of the event. See Canada’s quantities (different for beer, wine and spirits) for one standard drink so that you have the right measuring container handy.
Have water on tap
Encourage your attendees to drink plenty of water by having pitchers handy around the room. Not only can alcohol dehydrate you, having water between alcoholic drinks makes it easier to space out alcoholic drinks across the time of the party, which is safer for our bodies.
Model moderation as an employer
Employers have a responsibility and a duty of care to their workers. Serving It Right standards apply when serving alcohol at a work-related function, so make sure you have a licensed server. Workplace leaders and event organizers in attendance should also be mindful not to encourage a culture of binge drinking. Excessive drinking can lead to disinhibition, which can increase the chance of inappropriate behaviour and comments a person may regret later. So creating an atmosphere of moderation is not only safer for people who choose to drink, but for everyone else too.
Ensure your guests get home safely
When promoting your event, ask your attendees to plan for a ride home in advance if they need it. Consider stopping serving well before the end of the event to reduce the chances of people leaving while impaired. Have taxi and ride-sharing or transit timetable apps or phone numbers and even cash handy for people who didn’t plan ahead. Ideally, available overnight parking will allow people to leave their vehicles if they drank more than they planned.