The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is filled with holiday planning, gift purchasing and plenty of parties. Understandably, business leaders and employees can become distracted.
One way to help everyone be as efficient as possible during this time of year is to command the calendar. Do that by scrutinizing schedules for both yourself and your staff. This will help you determine reasonable and unreasonable expectations, as well as how everyone can stay productive.
1. Look back to plan ahead
How did your business do during the last holiday season, or the one before that? Where were the challenges and how can you look ahead to avoid them? Once you’ve made the assessment, you can move on to fixing the issues. Be fair about allowing for time off, and be honest about how much office time needs to be spent celebrating the season. Then involve the staff so everyone knows the holiday plan.
It’s recommended to get your employees on the same page regarding major items to accomplish (year-end planning, budgeting, etc.) and vacation days they all expect to take so there are no surprises. While most employers would agree that it is important to give employees time off when it is most important to them, they also agree that optimal staffing is needed to avoid a decline in customer service, missed deadlines and long wait times, all of which could create long term damage for a small business, says Sherry B. Jordan, who coaches small business owners and solo entrepreneurs to realize goals and increase results.
2. Provide holiday help
Consider what perks might help employees meet business goals and use them as a holiday gift to your staff. Would it help people stay focused if they knew you were closing early before a holiday?
In-house benefits are appreciated, too. “Have lunch catered, or pay for a massage therapist to come in and give back and neck massages to employees,” writes Jessica Stillman in Inc. This recognizes that the holidays are stressful as well as joyful, and thanks your staff for jobs well done earlier in the year.
3. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver
This isn’t the time to bulk up your business to-do list. Shouldering holiday tasks with heavy work objectives might just be too much, says Lisa Davis in Fast Company. “Be realistic with yourself and others about how much you will be able to do, when you will be available and when others can anticipate a response from you,” she says.
Finally, be mindful of business expenses during the holiday season. Hold off on promises of pricey giveaways and large bonuses until you’re sure the numbers will add up. “The best decision you can probably make this holiday season is to prepare a budget which will guide your spending.” writes Richard Agu for Entrepreneur.
About the Author
Cheryl Alkon is a freelance writer and has written for publications including USA Today, The New York Times, Prevention.com, More, Women’s Day, ENT Today, and Oncology Business Management. Find her at cherylalkon.com.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.