It’s a busy time of the year for many businesses as they look to meet final deadlines and round off the business year.
And with Christmas just around the corner, it’s important that business leaders plan for a controlled Christmas shut down.
This is a great time to relax and take a breather from work, but in order to really switch off from your business it pays to do a little planning ahead first.
Why a controlled Christmas shutdown is important?
With everyone eager for some time off, it’s important to make sure that all equipment and lighting is switched off. However, the way in which you shut down equipment may impact business when you start up again in January.
If shutdown is not done properly you may face issues on the first day back in the New Year, which will result in lost productivity.
This can easily be avoided with some forward thinking. Properly shut down your production line including all equipment such as computers, printers and other machinery as well as data equipment.
By undemanding how different pieces of equipment and systems interact (i.e. what happens to A and B when I switch off C?) you’ll understand how everything interacts. This will help you produce a shutdown sequence to follow on the last day of operation.
Directing employees to take annual leave
One thing all employees want to know is when their holiday starts, and ends.
As the leader of a small business, you should direct your employees to take annual leave during shutdown – this is of course if their contract agreement allows them to do so.
If there was no agreement or your employee isn’t entitled to take leave, you can direct them to take annual leave if the direction is reasonable.
Working during shut down
If employees are required to work during a business shut down, they should continue to be paid as per normal. However, if any of the days are public holidays (e.g. Christmas day) – your employee should be given the day off without loss of pay or they should be paid public holiday rates.
If an employee does not have enough annual leave to cover shut down, they have the option to take unpaid leave. However, no employee can be forced to take unpaid leave during shut down
Having an open conversation with your team is the most effective way to ensure the best outcome for your business and a happy working environment.
Other tasks to complete before shut down
There are a few productivity steps that will help you prepare your business for shutdown:
Payments – Stay on top of your accounts and follow up any payments ahead of holiday shut down.
Schedule content – e.g. marketing businesses can schedule content for their websites and social media channels to post while on holiday. This will maintain online visibility.
Set an Out of Office email – personalise your automatic replies and make sure you include important information like when you will be returning in 2018 and who to contact in an emergency.
Finally it’s a good idea to start planning ahead for the New Year before you return to work. By planning and setting goals for your business, you’ll head into 2018 with more focus and purpose.