Christmas is almost here and hopefully your planning for the close down is well underway. This helpful list is a good starting point to cross-check your planning for Christmas.
- Close down period: Decide on the dates you are closing and reopening. This year Christmas is on a Tuesday so commonly firms are closing on Friday 21 December and reopening on Monday 7 January.
- Financials: Ensure all your financial requirements such as paying GST, paying staff and having enough money in your operating accounts to meet automatic payments/direct debits have been set up before going on leave.
- Security: Ensure all documents are locked away, the file server is backed up and copies of backups are stored offsite in a secure location especially if these are stored at a staff member’s home. If staff have access to the work server from home, then ensure passwords are not left lying around. If staff receive work emails on their cell phones, laptops and tablets, then ensure these are all password protected and possibly even encrypted and you have a tracking mechanism on them in the event of their loss. Ensure all doors and windows of the office are locked.
- Notifying clients: Clients should be notified via the website, ezines, newsletters and phone voice messages of the business close down and who to contact in the event of an emergency.
- Emails: Have a process to clear your emails every few days or activate the automatic email response mechanism advising clients that the business is closed down and how to make contact in the event of an emergency.
- Mail: If you receive large volumes of mail then either arrange with the Post Office to hold the mail or else arrange for someone to collect it at a couple of points over the Christmas break.
- Courier: If you receive large volumes of courier deliveries then advise them when you are closing down and reopening. This will avoid them arriving at your office to find it closed.
- On-call staff member: It is recommended you always have a nominated call staff member who is available to handle any calls or emergencies. If staff do not wish to receive work calls over the holiday period, then their work phones could be diverted to the on-call staff member.
- Processing applications: Ideally try and organise workflows so that any investment and insurance applications are submitted PRIOR to going on holiday. It is not desirable for these applications to be sitting in your PO Box or a staff member’s inbox or in-tray.