At the end of this calendar year, you may be looking to shut down your business and give yourself and your employees a break after a long and drawn-out year.
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Notifying Your Employees
It is always wise to notify your employees formally of the shutdown, whether that be through a printed memo, email, etc. It also gives them time to contact clients and/or customers to organise any necessary alternative arrangements.
Legally you need to give them 14 days of notice, and as this time of year can be very busy and chaotic, it can be quite easy for them to forget a quick conversation. By having the closedown plans in writing, you can also prove you have given adequate notice should any legal issues arise
Organise Staff Leave Ahead Of Time
To avoid issues with staffing and conflicts resulting from pending staff leave (such as disputes etc), it’s also best to give plenty of notice in preparation.
Since the end of the year can be an expensive time for employees, it’s best to head off conflicts about taking time off before they can escalate. You may give priority to seniority, notice given or have another system in place.
Availability To Clients
Your clients need to understand that there will be a time during the holidays when your staff and your business will be unavailable. To do that, there should be clear communication of your expected closure dates and prospective timeframes that you may be available before that to organise when they can be seen or purchase your services.
MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
The lead-up to the end-of-year shutdown can be chaotic, but ensuring everyone does their part can be as simple as assigning specific tasks to employees. These might include:
- Notifying clients of the office’s closing dates and reminding them that there won’t be anyone to help them for the set time frame
- Diverting calls and emails or setting up a vacation responder letting clients and people know when a response may be likely.
- Wrapping up any projects before leaving for the time off
- General office clean up such as cleaning out the fridge, taking out the rubbish (no one wants to smell last year’s milk when they come back), turning off appliances, etc.
- Documentation is either stored safely or disposed of to prevent lost data.
- If working in areas during public holidays, knowing and applying the appropriate payroll for staff is important (e.g. employing cleaners)
- Automating systems specifically for customer service and/or payments (e.g. purchases, renewals) while people are out of the office