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Finance Expert’s Advice on Running a Small Business over Christmas

Written by Anita Tweats on Wednesday, 11 December 2019. Posted in Financial management, Finance

Businesses need to plan ahead to cover the festive period without piling additional stress on owners and employees, a leading financial expert has advised.

Finance Expert’s Advice on Running a Small Business over Christmas

Businesses need to plan ahead to cover the festive period without piling additional stress on owners and employees, a leading financial expert has advised.

CEO of finance recruitment experts The Finance People Anita Tweats, believes planning for the break means staff and business owners can relax and enjoy the festivities with friends and family without worrying about work.

Christmas is the one time of year many office-based businesses take advantage of the quiet period and close their doors for a well-earned break.

But for owners, managers and employees to enjoy that break, there needs to be careful planning to ensure deadlines are met and customers and clients aren’t left feeling stranded.

There is also the contentious issue of staff holidays to take into account for those wanting to take time off before, after or into the New Year.

Anita believes by having a clear strategy in place to manage potential issues, like holidays, and with clear communication to staff and customers, the Christmas period should be stress free.

She also believes planning in advance, prioritising workloads and keeping unnecessary tasks to a minimum could see the run up to Christmas be equally as smooth.

Anita said: “Professionally and personally, Christmas and the run up to it can be stressful. Anything a business owner can do to make the period run smoother will be beneficial to both the team and business as a whole.

“Planning ahead is key when it comes to covering the festive period, whether you’re running a large organisation or a small business. Being clear on days the office will be closed is essential to allow staff to plan breaks around.

“How holiday requests will be handled is another big priority. All owners will see an increase in requests over Christmas so having a clear strategy on how to handle them is a must to ensure it’s fair on everyone.

“If your business is relatively slow over the holidays but you still need to remain open for customers or clients, think about letting staff work from home, or having the team check emails and be the out of hours contact on a rota basis.

“That’s good for staff confidence and shows how much you trust them. It also puts you all in a strong, well-rested, positive position as you enter the new decade.”

Here are her tips on how to manage the Christmas period:

  1. Prioritise

Throughout December be clear on priorities for you and your team to ensure work is completed on time and to your usual high standard. Factor in Christmas customer / client lunches which will take some hours away from the working week.

The last thing you want to do is put your team under additional pressure when they should be thinking about and enjoying the festivities.

If you have tasks and small jobs that can wait until the New year, leave them. The team will come back re-energised and ready to tackle them head on.

  1. Customer comes first

You will need to communicate Christmas opening hours to your customers. If you’re shutting down over the festive period, make sure know when the office is closing and when it will reopen.

For those that may need the, make sure they have the relevant contact details for you or one of the team. And, don’t forget the out of office too.

  1. Staff holidays

The Christmas period can be a busy one for staff holiday requests. Some staff will have holiday remaining which they need to take, others will want to make it a longer holiday.

If you’re a small business, it can be tricky to manage, particularly if you need staff in the office for the period in between Christmas and New Year.

It’s worth setting some rules early on to make the processes easier to manage. For example: only a certain number can be off at any one time and holiday allocation will run on a first-come, first-served basis.

Alternatively, if you’re fortunate enough to be in a position to shut down or run on a very skeleton staff over the festive period, then seriously consider going down that route. 

  1. Using technology

If a member of the team needs to be available for customers and clients, is working from home an option? Technology makes it possible for an employee to do practically everything from home so if it’s just about keeping an eye on emails and handling the odd query, then it makes absolute sense.

This can be done a rota basis to fit in around holiday plans, and chances are they’ll have very little to do. It also sends a great message to the team showing your confidence in their abilities and that you trust them to do what is needed when it’s their turn. 

  1. Tactical shut down

Christmas is a time for you and the team to unwind and enjoy time with family and friends but if closing the office for a few days is not an option, think about a tactical shut down,

Set aside a small window of time each day to check work emails and respond to only the urgent requests and queries. Everything else can wait until you’re back in the office in the New Year.

About the Author

Anita Tweats

Anita Tweats

Anita Tweats is the CEO of finance recruitment specialists The Finance People. Anita has worked in the financial sector / recruitment sector for many years with clients including Wedgewood, Evans Halshaw and Vodaphone.

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