Avoid the Nightmare before Christmas

Dec 19, 2022 3:47:19 PM

The lead-up to Christmas is often the most demanding time of year for small business owners. It can mean that even when they have a break, it's more about recovery than relaxation. Purposeful planning can help you keep a sense of cheer and enjoy the season.

Start with scheduling time out

Parkinson’s Law is the adage that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. And that’s why time and productivity experts recommend scheduling your breaks first.And not only the days away with your family. Ensure you have also set aside blocks of time for family holiday preparation. This may include attending children’s prizegivings, buying gifts, and preparing for visitors.

Set clear expectations

If you let people know when you'll be available and when you won't, they can work around you. Along with publishing your holiday hours, make sure that staff know what they can expect. Setting clear processes empowers people to keep things on track without interrupting your downtime.

Sort out the big stressors

The holiday season brings some pressure points, such as organising the Christmas party and even stressing about Secret Santa. Although you may be sick of 'pivoting' after the last few years, it's worth reconsidering the status quo.

One psychology magazine found the secret Santa tradition brought more anxiety than appreciation. A small gift for each employee can mean more. And a hamper may bring back some of the suspense without pressuring anyone. Giving to charity is another way to spread cheer.

Kiwis often have a ‘love/hate’ relationship with the annual ‘work do’. Holding your get-together during working hours avoids people begrudging the time. It might also reduces the risk of regrettable raucousness!

Prioritise people

Putting people at the heart of your planning will help ensure the season is bright without burnout. You must stay up to date with the obligations you have for employee leave. Business.govt explains what you need to do to look after your business and staff. Many people will want a break over the summer, but some may enjoy the opportunity for extra hours. Communicate early and openly with your team to get the best plan for everyone.

Put things in perspective

Data-driven decisions can give you better balance between pressure and potential profit. Many businesses have their biggest trading months around Christmas. However, the frantic pace may distort your perception of the net value. Working between the statutory holidays and adding extra hours may lift your revenue, but this needs to be calculated against the extra costs in wages and to well-being.

Stay in the spirit

This summer, when you finish work for the day or the year, imagine being able to truly leave it behind. If you have a family business, you may be especially challenged to avoid 'talking turkey' when you all get together. If you do need to spend some time discussing business affairs, scheduling this separately can potentially save Christmas!

The holiday period means something different for everyone, but inclusiveness and empathy are always in season. Your team and family members will probably face their own end-of-year pressures. Taking a deep breath to pause could be just the thing you need to keep the peace.

Give yourself the gift of support

Imagine knowing that someone will have your back for the next year. A Business Mentor volunteers their time simply to share their experience and help you succeed. Giving yourself a year of business mentoring may be one of the most impactful ways to get more time with your family far beyond the summer break. And imagine being able to do the same for someone else. If you have a supplier or client who would benefit from a Business Mentor, find out about the gift of support here.