Workplace events and functions are a great way to create connections between workmates, boost morale and say thank you for a job well done.
But you don’t have to serve alcohol at work events to achieve all that, especially if your workplace alcohol policy doesn’t allow it.
Suggested ways to build connection without involving alcohol include:
- timing events for when alcohol wouldn’t be expected – maybe for breakfast, or morning tea
- making it about doing an activity, learning something new or visiting somewhere rather than eating and drinking
- volunteering – many companies sponsor their people to take a day off to help the community as a way of showing corporate social responsibility.
Whatever you choose do to, if it’s outside make sure there’s plenty of shade and sunscreen so you can be SunSmart.
Serving alcohol at work events
If you do choose to serve alcohol at work events you must be a responsible host. That’s about helping people enjoy themselves and staying safe while drinking alcohol.
Primarily that’s about providing food and low or no alcohol options, ensuring no-one drinks alcohol who shouldn’t (eg, under 18s), and helping people get home safely.
Your role goes beyond that too. As the host, it’s important you encourage and model responsible behaviour around alcohol.
It's a good idea to read up on these guidelines and simple steps employers can take to be a responsible host, reduce the risks and meet their legal obligation to ensure safety.
Think about the SAFELY acronym. It’s a simple way to remember host responsibility’s key components and plan to ensure people enjoy themselves without over-indulging.
S – Use responsible alcohol service – follow the law around serving alcohol
A - Provide alternatives to alcohol – have no and low-alcohol options
F – Offer plenty of food – including some healthy options
E – Prevent excess consumption and intoxication – limit the amount of alcohol on offer
L – Organise lifts – help people get home safe
Y – Look after young people – those who are under 18, or those who can legally drink but may not be experienced drinkers.
Note that a specific (and legal) requirement relates to the supply of alcohol to people aged under 18.
Also find out if you need to apply for a liquor licence. Factors such as workplace size, whether the event is open to the public, and whether alcohol is sold or supplied can affect the need for a licence.
Check with the Liquor Licensing Team at your local council.