For many firms, retail being a notable exception, business goes dead from mid December and doesn’t really resume until the second week in January, so here’s a checklist of what you should do now to ensure as relaxing a festive period as possible.

  1. Check you’re on track – if the business is performing then the whole team, yourself included, is likely to be able to recharge over the Christmas break and then start the New Year with confidence. Review your financial projections and cash flow statements as well as reviewing progress against other key plans. A healthy cash flow at this time of year is critical – remember revenues from December and January combined will in many industries work out to one month’s normal revenues and this can impact your cash reserves at some stage if you aren’t careful.
  2. Wrap it up for Christmas – deals and processes that span Christmas are likely to stall to a lesser or greater degree. Push to complete as many of them as possible.
  3. Ensure continuation processes are in place – for any processes that may not complete before the Christmas break make sure that there is a pick up date and next action agreed by all parties. This will make the process easier to resurrect seamlessly in the New Year.
  4. Organise your Pre-Christmas and New Year’s campaign – There are plenty of excuses to contact clients and potential employees in the build up to the break: Christmas cards, gifts, lunches and etc. Use these opportunities to ensure your brand is familiar to them and then pursue them in the New Year.
  5. Set team expectations – your team will want to make Christmas plans. As early as possible, let them know when they can leave the office pre-Christmas, whether they are needed between Christmas and New Year and when they will be expected back after New Year. Setting targets that enable the team to earn the time between Christmas and New Year as extra holiday can be an effective incentive at a time of year when many people are tired and winding down.
  6. Leave on a positive note – make sure everybody leaves the office motivated and looking forward to returning. Among other things that means making sure staff are paid the right amount at the right time (and that they know when that time will be). Make sure your team know how well they have done in the build up to Christmas and your exciting plans for the next year.
  7. Execute - Get your head down. Planning and admin can happen between mid December and mid January. The weeks in the build up to Christmas are the time to make sure you hit your targets.

Wishing you and your team an excellent build up to the wind down, a lovely break and then a great 2017!