December is here again heralding the imminent arrival of Christmas celebrations for another year. If you love the frantic Christmas countdown you will already know, down to the second, exactly how long you have to shop and prepare. While December rushes past and the demands on our business responsibilities and personal lives increase, planning to have a break seems impossible. Despite the challenge, each year we manage to clear our diaries, catch up on urgent tasks and prepare ourselves for the Festive Season.
Not too many years ago, closing your office for the Christmas break meant turning off the lights, turning off the computers and setting up an answering machine with a cheerful Festive message announcing your return to business in January. In 2017, technology keeps us connected to the world every day of the year and computer systems are rarely shutdown for more than a few minutes. So even though you may be away from the office, for most businesses your technology will remain operational throughout the Festive Season.
Even if you take only a short break, careful planning will allow you to enjoy the time and help you to disconnect, relax and regenerate.
Make a list of critical things and plan ahead
Get your team together in December to discuss the critical tasks that may occur during your break and, if they can’t be delayed, plan for their completion. You may like to schedule any payments that occur during your break ahead of time and ensure that wages or contractors payments are not overlooked.
Your goal is to make sure that everyone is able to enjoy their time away without worrying about overlooked deadlines or tasks.
Notify your customers and contacts
Your customers and contacts need to know if you are taking a break so add a reminder to your emails throughout December. If your business provides a service, let your customers know who to contact if you aren’t available.
Notify your IT consultant
Even though you are away from your office your computer system will still be working. Have a chat with your external IT consultant to make sure your critical systems are monitored while you are away from the office. Your IT consultant may also be able to monitor your security software and ensure that your scheduled backups are occurring.
If you don’t have an IT consultant to manage your systems, you will need to have plans in place to ensure that your computer systems are safe and secure, that critical systems continue to run and that backups are occurring, particularly if you have remote access to your computer and files. If you are not sure what to do, get advice from an IT Expert well before your break.
Setup an out of office email
Emails form a critical part of our everyday communication, so remember to leave an Out of Office message on your emails while you are away so that your customers and contacts are well aware of your availability. Your business may have a standard message or you can just set up your own. Remember to include the dates your office will be unattended and when you will return.
Record a voice message on your phone
If your phone system allows it, leave a message to your customers and contacts that call you during your break. A brief message including your return date and a number for emergencies should be sufficient. Don’t forget to include a Christmas Greeting!
Set some goals for the coming year
Merry Christmas! Your successful planning has allowed you to take time to relax, celebrate and enjoy time with your family and friends. Now you can reflect and refocus on your business or your role and use your fresh perspective to set goals for the coming year. Maybe your first goal could be to take more time to relax!
So early in December, while Santa is busy packing his sleigh and our streets are being transformed into a wonderland of shiny decorations and coloured lights, take the time to plan, plan, plan and you will be sure to have a wonderful, relaxing and Happy Christmas!
At Macnair we are always happy to assist you with any questions you have about planning. Simply call me on 02 8814 5011 or shoot through an email to email@example.com and I’d be more than happy to answer your questions or ease your mind.