The end of the year is in sight. Another milestone with a well-deserved break on the cards. Before one runs off in search of the nearest beach or bush escape though, there are certain things one needs to do before downing tools for the holiday closing period.
This is especially crucial for your peace of mind – because no one wants to walk away on the last day and have that tingling feeling they have forgotten to turn off the stove or lock the front door.
Things to do before holiday break
Penquin Marketing Agency’s Business Unit Director Neill Robertson shares four tips professionals should take into consideration before switching off for the holiday season.
1. Being informed
First and foremost, inform your key contacts of your planned closing period. Firstly, inform your clients. They need to plan projects around your absence so it’s best to inform them as soon as you can to avoid the last-minute rush.
Secondly, inform your staff of the closing period to allow for leave planning. Should your business operate on a skeleton staff schedule, be sure to include this in your notice to clients. Finally, ensure you are informed of when your suppliers will be closing down and factor these dates into your planning – check that no deliveries are scheduled from them during your closing period.
As a reminder to all clients and suppliers, ensure all staff have detailed closing information on their out-of-office (OOO) messages to remind contacts. Be sure to include an alternative contact for any urgent matters based on the resource schedule you developed for the closing period. Remember to also include this response on your website mailing address.
2. Wrapping up
Do a detailed review of your current projects and tasks to ascertain which would be carried over to the following year and which needs to be prioritised for completion before you lock up. If skeleton staff applies to your business, make sure detailed handovers are done timeously should any tasks need to be managed by them.
Set your tasks out for your return after the holidays. Often the first week back is spent settling in and planning your course of action, so setting key tasks prior to your break will lead to time spent more effectively. Also ensure that you will have sufficient resource allocation for the tasks left for the new year as some staff might only return in the second or third week.
3. The office
Going back to that forgotten stove, when you close your office, you want to have peace of mind that everything will be as is upon your return. So, take the time to do the necessary checks to ensure your office is holiday ready. These include doing a server data backup, ensuring that any office plants are tended to during the holidays and giving your kitchen a spring clean, clearing it of anything that might greet you with a smell after the holidays.
Check that all your security and safety systems are in good working order and that your security provider is also aware of your closing period. A tip to fend off potential criminals is to time your office lights and have unscheduled check-ins by your security provider.
While the shorter month of December often means less revenue, you can combat the loss by ensuring your electricity bill remains as low possible by switching off any non-essential appliances such as computers, monitors, TVs, printers, air conditioners, printers and so on.
4. Reflecting and looking ahead
As work starts winding down and the festive spirit starts settling in, it gives us the opportunity to reflect on the year past and possibly gain a new perspective on what we could’ve done better or differently in our businesses. Use this time to reflect and learn and set new goals for the new year. Make sure that your staff are included in the process, it gives them the opportunity to buy into the direction for the business, leading to a combined effort.
Once you have your new direction, use the last few days to set yourself up to achieve those goals by mapping out the steps to achieving your goals. To set it in motion and get the right mindset, see if there are any steps that you can start working on already before downing tools.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure that you get out of your holiday what you need, whether that is connecting with loved ones or finally picking up that book you’ve been putting off for so long. No one wants to get back to a new fresh year having remorse over a holiday wasted.