By Ryan Velez
The holiday season is hectic enough for everyone, but the stress can be exponentially more if you are running a business. From employees (and yourself) wanting time away to enjoy the holidays to all the other issues that can pop up, this is one time of year when maintaining that work-life balance can seem impossible. A recent article from The Network Journal reached out to members of the Young Entrepreneur Council, trying to see how they manage to keep things moving during the holiday season.
First of all, there is the million-dollar-question. Is it worth it to stay open? Sometimes it depends on the industry, but if you have the luxury to close up for a bit, it can be its own reward. Leila Lewis, of Be Inspired PR mentions that she wants her “staff to take time to be with their families and be refreshed for the new year, so I shut down my business between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I find that everyone is happier and more productive when we are rested and ready to rock come January.”
If you choose to do this, though, it is important to be upfront with customers regarding this fact and make it easy for customers to leave requests and information for when you return. “In my experience, customers can respect it when you aren’t available during the holidays. We’ve made it very easy for customers to leave detailed descriptions of what they want through our website, so the process is completely automated until we return to deal with them. Make sure you let your customers know that you will not be open through both website forms,” shares Matt Doyle of Excel Builders.
Another thing to do if closed is to make certain to put together a proper out-of-office schedule. Faithe Parker of Marbaloo Marketing makes sure that in the three weeks of the year during the holidays where the office is closed, “employees check their emails twice a day and are available by phone, and one person from each department remains ‘online’ during a full work day to field any issues and contact team members as need be for any complications that arise.”
Of course, depending on your field, keeping closed is not an option. Neill Feather of SiteLock, LLC, is such an example. Due to the fact that his company is designed to help websites recover from attacks, being open to some degree during the holidays is essential. “We hire adequate staff to allow employees to work in smaller shifts, rather than need to work every holiday. You need to create a culture where everyone is committed to a great customer experience 365 days a year,” he shares.