With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, it can be tempting to wind down over the next few weeks. But, this is actually the perfect time to get organised and make sure your business is on track so you can relax and enjoy your festive break.
Here are some of our top tips for preparing your business for the Christmas holidays so you’re all set for a successful and productive 2020.
1. Start working in advance
When work starts to get busy, it’s easy to fall behind and work day-to-day rather than in advance. But working in advance is a really useful way to structure your workload – both at Christmastime and throughout the rest of the year.
If you start working a couple of weeks in advance, this will give you a buffer if anything unexpected pop ups. It’ll also allow you to fully switch off during the Christmas holidays as the work will already be done, so you won’t be tempted to turn on your laptop from the sofa.
Working in advance will look different depending on what type of business you run, but have a think about any tasks that can be scheduled in advance or planned ahead of time.
2. Manage client or customer expectations
As the Christmas holidays get closer, it’s important to get in touch with your clients to let them know what’s happening. Will you be closing the office completely over the holiday period, or will you be working between Christmas and New Year? Will you be contactable by email, or will any correspondence have to wait until January? Make it clear exactly what clients can expect from you so they aren’t left disappointed – or aren’t hounding you with phonecalls when you’re trying to relax!
If your business is customer-facing, make sure customers know your festive opening hours or delivery policies so they can plan accordingly. If you need to post out items, make it clear when your final posting dates are so customers can place their orders in plenty time.
3. Automate as much as possible
Lots of tasks within your business can be automated, so why not make your life easy and get this set up ahead of the Christmas holidays? From tools which can automatically post your social media updates to apps which keep track of your business expenses, there are plenty of things which can be automated.
This will help to ensure things like your marketing and email newsletters are ticking over, even when you’re not in the office. Spending a little bit of time getting your automation organised at the end of November or start of December will save you a lot of stress and hassle as the holidays approach!
4. Brief your staff
Whether you’re employing seasonal workers to help with the busy Christmas period or have a regular team of staff, it’s important you make sure everyone knows what they’re doing. Work out a staff rota well in advance so everyone knows when they’re working, or let your staff know which days the office will be closed on. This will allow your staff to plan their workload in the run-up to the holidays, as well as make their plans for visiting family and friends.
It’s also important to let your staff know which tasks need to be prioritised. Brief them on important tasks and the order in which things need to be completed in order to get as much done as possible before the holidays. There’s nothing worse than coming back after New Year with a huge pile of work on your desk, so try and make sure staff are able to get as much done as possible before they head off for the holidays.
5. Plan for next year
Before your wrap things up for the Christmas holidays, it’s worth doing a little bit of reflection on the year that has passed, and begin planning for the next year. Have a think about what has worked well this year, how the business is growing, what your strengths are and what you may need to improve.
Start sketching out a plan for next year so you know what your main focuses will be. There’s no need to go into too much detail at this stage – a break away from work will usually help you gain some clarity, and you’ll come back refreshed with plenty of new ideas to then create your full plan in January.
6. Have fun!
This time of year is always busy, especially as the work ramps up to get things organised for the holiday season. So, to avoid burnout, it’s really important to take some time out to have fun and enjoy Christmas.
Why not organise a Christmas party or night out for you and your staff? It’s a great way to say thank you to everyone for their hard work over the year, as well as give them a bit of a break from work to signal the start of the holidays. It could be as simple as some drinks in your office on the last day before the holidays, or a meal out at your favourite restaurant.