Company holiday parties: a way for companies to show employee appreciation by offering loads of appetizers, festive decorations and music, and, often, an open bar. Company holiday parties are a way for employees of all levels to mingle, form bonds outside of the office, and see each other in a more relaxed light. But often attendees get a little too relaxed, and don’t hold themselves to the unwritten two-drink office party rule. In that case, party sponsors need a way to get their guests home safely.
In fact, social etiquette dictates that party hosts should have plans in place to ferry revelers safely home when the lights go down. The unfortunate truth is that, when left to their own devices (and an open bar), many guests are likely to get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t. And when those guests are your employees, it’s imperative to offer good, legal ways for guests to both enjoy the party and make it home afterwards.
Below, we’ve put together the best designated driver options for companies to help ensure their employees get home safely after enjoying a holiday party this season.
Often the best way for companies to ensure their employees’ safe travels is to organize transportation ahead of time–an even classier move is to foot the bill ahead of time, too. Enter: UberEvents.
At the beginning of November, Uber launched their latest venture, UberEvents, nationally–just in time for the holiday season. The new service offers companies the option of providing rides both to and from their holiday party, and it allows hosts to decide ahead of time how much they’ll pay for each guest’s ride.
Before the big event, organizers “customize a guest pass with the date, time, and promo code.” Then, when guests request an UberX ride, all they have to do is enter the code. Companies can decide to cover all costs, or a portion of each ride for each employee. Not only can UberX cost much less than taxis, shuttles, and party buses, this option can reduce (or eliminate) the need for parking and valets at the event.
Many taxi companies and car services offer vouchers or coupons that can be purchased ahead of time and distributed to guests at the event. In this case, companies can let their employees know ahead of time that they will each receive a taxi coupon worth say, $20, at the end of the evening, and employees can plan accordingly. Depending on the service (and city) employers may even be able to negotiate a discount. Holiday party hosts can then either arrange to call cars and taxis in areas where they aren’t readily available on the street, or they can leave the details up to their guests. Either way, employees can plan to take a taxi home before the evening even begins which will help reduce unsafe driving.
Public Transportation Passes
For companies located in large metropolitan areas with reliable public transportation, transit passes can be a good post-holiday party option. Companies can purchases metro and bus passes before the holiday party and then offer them to all guests. It might not be the most luxurious way to get home, but public transportation is a solid option for ensuring no guest drives when they’ve had too much (at the bar or on the dance floor).
AAA offers several options to help guests get home safely. While AAA is a national program, its services vary by state and region, so you’ll have to check options in your area ahead of time. Some of AAA’s best options (remember, they aren’t available everywhere):
Tow to go: AAA will pay to have a car towed to anywhere in a ten-mile radius, for free—and they’ll bring the owner home, too. The service is meant to be a last resort, so hosts can’t make an appointment ahead of time and shouldn’t plan for all guests to use the service, but it can be helpful in a pinch.
Holiday Safe Ride Program: many AAA clubs offer ride services over the holidays for both members and nonmembers. The program isn’t nationwide, but it is offered in many areas.
If all else fails, companies can always offer employees reimbursement for their travel expenses–covering either the entire bill, or a prearranged limit. Whether your holiday party will be an all-out extravaganza or a more low-key shindig in the office, planning for your employees to get home safely is the prudent thing to do this season.