WCI, Inc
Dec. 4, 2023

Rethinking the Office Holiday Party

The holiday season is quickly approaching! While many of us are thinking about our special holiday meal, time spent with our families, and what funny gift will we buy for our office “White Elephant” gift exchange, it's important for us to consider the unique challenges and opportunities this season presents for our employees in recovery from Substance Use Disorders (SUD). The festivities and traditions that make this time of year so special can also be a source of stress and temptation for individuals working towards maintaining their sobriety.

You, as employers, have the ability to play a pivotal role in supporting your employees during this crucial time. Here are some tips and considerations to help you navigate this sensitive issue:

1. Gift-Giving: When selecting gifts for your employees, it's essential to be considerate of their journey in recovery. Avoid alcoholic gifts, such as wine or liquor, and opt for alternatives like chocolates, gift cards, or wellness items. Thoughtful and personalized gifts that show appreciation without promoting alcohol can make a significant impact.

2. Holiday Parties: Holiday parties are a common source of social pressure, especially for those in recovery. Create an inclusive environment by considering the following:

  • Offer non-alcoholic beverage options. Ensure there are a variety of non-alcoholic drinks available alongside alcoholic ones. This can help individuals in recovery feel more comfortable.
  • Avoid pressure to drink. Communicate to your staff that they are not obligated to consume alcohol. Encourage responsible drinking and respect everyone's choices.
  • Plan engaging activities. Include games, music, and entertainment to keep the focus on socializing and fun, rather than solely on alcohol.

3. Stress and Sobriety: The holiday season often comes with heightened stress, which can pose a significant challenge to individuals in recovery. Consider these steps to support your employees:

  • Encourage self-care. Promote wellness programs, mindfulness practices, or relaxation techniques that can help employees manage stress.
  • Flexible scheduling. Be understanding of personal commitments or therapy sessions that employees in recovery may need to attend. Flexible scheduling can ease the burden and stress of the season.
  • Open communication. Create an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable discussing their concerns and stressors. Be an empathetic listener and offer assistance when needed.

Supporting employees in recovery is not just about providing alternatives, but fostering a culture of inclusion, understanding, and empathy. Remember that every individual's journey is unique, and a little compassion can go a long way in making this holiday season a joyful one for all.

Thank you for taking the time to consider these suggestions and for creating a workplace that is supportive and inclusive.

From all of us at WCI and the NC Workforce Development Coalition, we wish you and your employees a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season.

One Town Square Blvd, Suite 100, Asheville, NC 28803 +1 (800) 621-2685 [email protected]