Planning for a Holiday Breakation

By Bonnie Sokoloff

With the holiday season around the corner, you’re probably hoping for some much-needed time off—but there are some important considerations to address before deciding to close up shop. After all, your business is your baby and you would never leave your baby without making sure that it’s properly cared for in your absence, right?

Here are some questions to consider:

Should you shut down completely or remain open with a skeleton staff and relaxed hours?
The answer to this depends largely on the type of business you operate, your customer base, and your business partners. For example, if you run a retail store, you probably won’t want to risk losing what could be substantial sales opportunities, not to mention upsetting customers planning to pre- or post-holiday shop at your location. But if you run a service-oriented business and your customers and vendors are likely to be taking time off themselves, it’s a safe bet that you can safely close down for a few days so you and your staff can enjoy a break.

Who needs to know?
Whether you decide to shut down or remain open, you need to make sure that your holiday schedule is clearly communicated. However you plan to let people know—posting a sign in your front window or sending out letters or email to customers, clients and vendors—you must clarify your availability (or lack thereof) so they can plan around it, if need be.

What is your emergency backup plan?
Even if your neighbourhood is a ghost town over the holiday season, you still need to have a contingency plan just in case something comes up that needs to be handled right away. If possible, make sure your staff and contacts know how to get in touch with you, and make sure you periodically check your messages and emails to avoid missing any SOS calls. If the problem requires a physical presence to solve it and you are out of town or unable to respond, make sure you have arranged for a designated, reliable staff member to step in and take control of the situation—this includes having the authority to make decisions if they are not able to consult with you beforehand.

Anything else?
Make sure you have adequate coverage for the time you’ll be away. If you decide to remain open, make sure the staff members on duty are aware of any tasks or issues that will/could come up over the holidays, as well as the information they will require to handle them. It’s a good idea to put details in writing, so they know what to expect as well as what to do if the unexpected should occur.

Now you’re ready to relax and recharge for the New Year ahead!

BONNIE SOKOLOFF currently works as an Internal Communications Specialist for Staples Canada. She has over 15 years of experience with copywriting, editing and print production.

By Adam

December 02, 2011