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The Christmas Countdown: 7 things to do now to get your business ready for Christmas

Christmas is coming. Be afraid!

But really though, Christmas is going to be here before you know it (I means it’s already November – how did that happen?!) and you need to make sure your business is ready

You need to be ready so that nothing goes wrong while you’re all out of the office, but more importantly you need to be ready so that you can give your staff a well-earned break.

Those guys work hard for you all year round, and Christmas is the perfect time to show them how much you appreciate it with a bit of time off and a few boxes of Quality Street scattered round the office.

So, let’s run down how to have a Christmas break to remember.

1. Sort out the Christmas rota

This is one of the most important and toughest things to sort out – after all everyone wants to be home for Christmas right?

Lots of businesses simply close for Christmas which is a great option and lets everyone have some time with their families.

Well that’s nice for those businesses – but what about those guys down in the trenches.

What about the guys with SLA’s that mean they can never close?

What about the websites who stay open so you can spend your Christmas money, lying flat on your back eating maltesers for breakfast?

Some businesses have to stay open for Christmas, and if you’re one of them it means having tricky conversations with staff.

Luckily, with everyone else on chill-out mode, things are a bit quieter and you can run the office on a skeleton staff.

Work out the bare minimum number of people you need to be in, and let your team know.

Most people are good guys, and you’ll normally get some volunteers.

If you can’t get enough volunteers though, make sure you’re fair in the way you distribute hours so that no one feels like they’ve got the worst deal.

It’s always a pain trying to sort the rota over Christmas, so the earlier you can do it the better.

2. Book the Christmas Party

What is office life without a Christmas party?

Where would we be without the MD dancing to Slade on a table? What would we gossip about if the new guy didn’t snog the cleaner after a few too many snowballs?

Christmas parties are what office life is all about.

And, joking aside, they’re great for team building.

To make sure you have a Christmas party to remember get it booked well in advance– and why not think of something a bit different to do while you’re at it?

I mean, is it any surprise there’s always drama at office parties given there’s literally nothing to do but drink?

Instead, why not do something. Go bowling. Go to junkyard golf if you’re super cool.

By making your Christmas party an event rather than just a pub crawl you’ll have lots more fun memories, and far fewer hangovers the next day.

3. Find our your supplier’s plans

So you’ve stayed open for Christmas.

And if you’re open surely everyone else is – after all you’re the King of Everything, right?

Well this might surprise you, but just because you’re at your desk for 9am on the 27th it doesn’t mean the rest of the UK is.

Printer broken? Whoopsie – no printing for you this week.

Run out of stock? Uh-oh! You’re not selling anything for the next few days.

If you’re going to stay open over Christmas it’s going to be a cold, lonely week so you better have some provisions.

Before you shut up shop on Christmas Eve, make sure everything is in place so that you can be completely self-sufficient until January 1st.

Even other businesses that are open will be running a reduced service so you can’t rely on them like you normally would.

Be on the safe side and make sure everything is done and dusted well in advance so you can have a nice easy week if you choose to stay open.

4. Crack open the Terry’s Chocolate Orange!

When you’re a week out from Christmas no one’s mind is 100% on the job.

Even your top earner is preoccupied thinking about how his Mum does the roast potatoes all crispy and golden.

Rather than cracking down on the daydreamers, you might as well just get into the Christmas spirit.

Keep morale high in the office in the days running up to Christmas with plenty of sweets, decorations, and maybe even a Christmas jumper day for good measure.

If you try and stop people thinking about Christmas they’re just going to resent being at work even more.

Instead, use the excitement in the office to do a bit of team building, help people get it out of their systems, and then they’ll be happy to get their heads down and work for the rest of the day.

No one likes a Scrooge so stick Now That’s What I Call Christmas on and get the Ferrero Roche out.

Your staff will thank you for it.

5. The age-old question: Staff Bonuses?

It’s the first question any new staff member asks when it’s coming up to Christmas.

“Do we get a Christmas bonus?”

It’s a tricky decision to make for employers. Christmas can already be an expensive time of year, so dishing out bonuses can just be an extra outgoing you don’t need.

The fact of the matter is though things like Christmas bonuses really matter to staff.

It isn’t even the money that matters – it’s the gesture and the fact that it shows all their hard work for the last year was appreciated.

If you can afford to give a Christmas bonus, even if it’s a small one, the boost it can give to morale is massive, and it will help you to grow a loyal team.

If the financial situation means you simply can’t afford to give staff bonuses, then sometimes it can be a good idea to explain why.

After all, would you rather work for the boss who can’t give you a bonus because he’s investing into the business, or the boss who won’t give you a bonus and doesn’t bother to explain why?

A strong business benefits every member of staff, so they’ll understand if you can’t stretch to a bonus this year.

6. Plan for the New Year

Lots of companies will do January sales.

If you want to be one of them, you need to know what you’re going to be selling, and have everything ready to go well before Christmas.

These days the January sales seem to start just after the Queen’s Speech, so you’re going to be well behind the times if you’re waiting till the new year to start talking about your offer.

Even if you aren’t running a January offer, January is still a busy time in business so it’s good to make sure you’re ready in advance.

If you’re in a B2B environment January can also be a busy time as lots of companies seem to take on a “new year new me” attitude and start looking for suppliers and services in the new year.

Don’t miss the boat, make sure everything’s set up for when you come back in after Christmas and start the new year with a bang.

7. Remember to be good (or you’re getting coal for Christmas!)

Look, you’re the boss.

Everything the light touches is your kingdom (except for the shadowy place – that’s the IT department. It’s beyond your borders. You must NEVER go there!).

How you choose to wield this power is up to you.

Over the Christmas period, you might find people testing your patience a bit more than normal.

People aren’t working as hard, they “forget” which days they were meant to be in, and they conveniently phone in sick after the Christmas party.

Rather than doubling down on discipline as people start to let go, it’s easier and better for morale to roll with it.

Yes, people might get a bit chatty. And yes, you might get some people phoning in sick but is it really worth shouting about if you’re breaking up in a few days anyway?

By all means, if the problems continue into the new year take action, but for now feel the Christmas spirit and give people the benefit of the doubt.

You’ll have a happier office and a happier Christmas if you do.

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